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Dublin: 7°C Friday 15 January 2021

Bouncing back from Galway beating and wary of Cork reaction after 2016 flak

Tipperary open their Munster title defence on Sunday.

Tipperary hurling manager Michael Ryan.
Tipperary hurling manager Michael Ryan.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

LIKE EVERYONE ASSOCIATED with the Tipperary camp, Michael Ryan was left reeling after last month’s hurling league final.

But he’s keen to add a layer of perspective to that beating they suffered at the hands of Galway.

Consider the time of year first of all.

“If that came in July or August or September 3rd and you are beaten, it’s horrible but you have to move on.

“You do so much navel-gazing and planning and it takes you the whole winter to get over it.

“This is different. For us, it’s not like you have a winter of discontent where you get to look at everything and that is the end game of the season.

“This is different. Yes, it was a loss, we didn’t want it but we had exactly four weeks to get over it from the time the final whistle was blown up in Limerick.

“We didn’t see it coming. Kudos to Galway, outstanding team on the day. I think we would have been stretched to our absolute limits to live with them even had we turned up.

“I was talking to some friends, it’s almost as if the bubble burst and the honeymoon ended. We almost could do no wrong which was never the case.

“We live in mere mortal land. We make plenty of mistakes, we’re always trying to improve but we’re not the finished article and we never professed to be.”

A school of thought built up around Tipperary over the spring as the All-Ireland champions moved through the gears in impressive fashion.

After that Galway defeat, a reassessment has taken place. Yet Ryan wants to point out that it is only their fiercest rivals who have truly embarked on a relentless winning run in recent times.

“The minute you have that title people look at you as though you are the new force in hurling, maybe we would become Kilkenny-esque and gone on a level of dominance. We haven’t given up the dream of trying to be successful at all.

“We’re not unaccustomed to losing matches. We’re not Kilkenny. We have lost our share of matches.

“To be fair there is only one Kilkenny. Nobody else has achieved what these guys have achieved.

“We have all failed to win it with any degree of regularity. Really and truly, all comparisons are about Kilkenny. None of us in the chasing pack has cracked it.

“We got a very stern lesson about what flatness can do to you and how it might look. We certainly don’t want to see it again.”

Next Sunday sees Tipperary attempt to mount a response, Cork in Thurles the first hurdle they must surmount.

Ryan is wary of the challenge their opponents will pose.

“Our last meeting with Cork in Páirc Uí Rinn was a fabulous game. It had a real climax.

“We were trying to press and press and couldn’t. Cork got the couple of scores to win.

“They’ll be happy with their league campaign in terms of what they wanted to achieve, I suspect.

“It’s a Cork team that has got a fair bit of flak during 2016 as far as I was concerned. What better motivation?

“If you keep kicking someone, you’ll get a reaction. I believe Cork are in very good shape.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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