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'It was a horrible first half for us. Cork were all over us and we were literally chasing shadows.'

A contrast in dressing-room moods for the Tipperary manager yesterday in Thurles.

Michael Ryan celebrates Noel McGrath's second-half goal for Tipperary.
Michael Ryan celebrates Noel McGrath's second-half goal for Tipperary.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

A CONTRAST IN dressing-room moods in Semple Stadium.

At half-time yesterday, Michael Ryan considered the bleak outlook for his Tipperary hurling team as they stared at a nine-point deficit against Cork, a week after slipping up in their opener to Limerick.

At full-time the Tipperary boss was enthused after witnessing his team’s comeback to grab a draw after the late intervention of teenager Jake Morris.

A week after opting for silence in the Gaelic Grounds, the 2016 All-Ireland winning supremo was in a talkative mood after his team kept their summer dreams alive.

“Look it was a horrible first-half for us. Cork were all over us and we were literally chasing shadows all over the pitch. We didn’t get to express ourselves or take control of any part of that first half. It was Cork, Cork, Cork.

“We were in dire straits and I’m sure that’s how it looked to ye guys. They had answers for questions we didn’t even ask.”

So then what were the words of inspiration that Ryan imparted at the break to transform a game where they trailed 1-15 to 1-6?

“Some of it can’t be printed,” laughed Ryan.

“But, look, what do you ever say? you’re appealing to the character that’s in them. The majority of that team that we’ve been supported for 10 odd years, they’re made of way better stuff than that.

“To be honest, I just thought that second half effort was a total team effort. Loads of mistakes made but the positives outweighed them. To get back in the mix – and look, we’re the ones who salvaged a draw.

“It feels like a win almost. But it’s not, it’s a draw. We have to be very real about this – there’s a lot of hurling to be played. But we’re still alive.

“We weren’t in the least bit happy at half-time, the bucket was holed everywhere. Only the collective could turn that around and I thought we saw that in spades. They put their bodies on the line, they committed to every single ball.”

Two games in and Tipperary are still chasing their first provincial championship win of 2018. But this result changes the complexion of their Munster run ahead of next Sunday’s trip to the Gaelic Grounds to face Waterford.

Is Ryan still concerned about his team’s form?

“Well, yeah is the honest answer to that. I’d love to have four points at this stage but we don’t. We just have to look ahead, we can’t do anything about last Sunday’s result.

“We’ve just got to fight it out as hard as we possibly can. Any surprises that it’s this tight and ebbing and flowing in the Munster championship? Absolutely not.

“No, we wouldn’t give in – that team would not give in. And it wouldn’t be in our DNA to give in or to accept it. We’ll fight to the very end, to minute 73 or 74 or whatever it takes in the fourth game.

“We will be working as hard as we possibly can trying to stay in this championship and that’s what we are trying to do. And it’s the same as the other four teams in Munster, we are all trying to fight for our lives.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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