Eamon O'Shea returns to the management team while Brendan Maher is back from a cruciate injury.
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'Huge boost' - Captain Callanan hails returning Tipp duo Maher and O'Shea

The two-time All-Ireland winner is pleased to have them back in Liam Sheedy’s set-up.

THERE ARE PLENTY of positives in the Tipperary hurling camp at the minute — and captain Seamus Callanan is pleased with how all is going under Liam Sheedy.

“Ah, it’s great to have Liam back,” the two-time All-Ireland winner said at at the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Announcement in Croke Park today.

“It’s brilliant. Liam is top class, there’s no doubt about that. Look, we’re enjoying every moment with him and hopefully we can have a long year with him. Liam’s at the top of his game and wherever he leads we’ll follow.”

The Premier county recieved a significant boost in February with the news of Eamon O’Shea rejoining the management team.

A central figure in the evolution of Tipperary hurling over the past decade, the former boss and member of Sheedy’s 2010 All-Ireland winning management team came on board in a ‘support role, not as a selector’.

And Callanan, more than anyone, is delighted to have him back.

“Great to have him around now,” he smiles. “I’ve often said Eamon has been huge for me and huge for that group, the older group that’s in the panel. It’s great to have him back.

“We’re very lucky to have him, we’re very lucky to have the set-up that we do have. Look, hopefully it can just bring us a bit of luck this year and we can go a few steps further than we did last year.”

O’Shea hasn’t been involved a whole pile yet with Tommy Dunne and Darragh Egan overseeing most of the hurling and Callanan doesn’t know the extent of his involvement just yet, but the Drom-Inch man is just pleased to be reunited with an old mentor.

Bord Gáis Energy GAA Announcement Seamus Callanan at today's event. David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

O’Shea, he says, really developed his game.

“Eamon gave me the freedom to go out and express myself in training, become the best player I could be. He believed in me. He’s a very intelligent man about hurling and I love the way he looks at hurling and views hurling. We had a connection on that. 

“He makes you enjoy it. When you are enjoying your hurling, you always seem to play better.

“He’s like us all — we love Tipperary hurling. Eamon just wants to see us perform to our ability. Whatever way he can help in that process, he wants to do it for us.

“We’re just very grateful to have him back around the place. He brings a great positive mentality around the place. He’s very welcome.”

Another recent welcome return to the fold is that of Brendan Maher. The 2016 All-Ireland winning captain tore his cruciate last June as Tipperary’s championship hopes all but ended.

The Borris-Ileigh star’s return came in the second half of last month’s league quarter-final defeat to Dublin in Thurles, giving the home crowd something to cheer for.

And again, Callanan — no stranger to injury himself — more than anyone, is delighted to have him back by his side.

“Brendan has shown his character by coming back from that injury,” he continued.

Brendan Maher leaves the field injured Maher leaving the field after his devastating injury. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“I suppose the physical conditioning that he is in after coming back from that injury [is great]. He didn’t come back in poor shape and only trying to start from there, he came back in better shape than he was ever in.

“He’s a real inspiration, as he always was on the hurling field; he was an inspiration on his comeback. When we were training away, we just knew that he was working as hard, if not harder.

“It’s always harder when you are working in your own. He was putting in huge effort and still leading by example in everything he has done. It’s great to have a bit of game time into Brendan in the last game of the league.

“Hopefully, he’ll come through the club stuff well and healthy. He’s a huge boost to us – he’s a great guy on the pitch and off the pitch and just hugely valuable to the set-up.”

That return was obviously a hugely positive moment in what he admits was an up-and-down league campaign. Obviously, they would have liked to progress further but the focus now turns to the club scene, and to championship.

“The year moves on and you have to move with it and keep moving forward,” he says, adding that he’s enjoying his captains role: 

“There’s no difference, really, in fairness. Look, it’s a great honour, but, you know, I’m there now since 2008 so there’s a lot of leaders in the panel so you kind of just try to keep doing what you were doing there. 

Bord Gáis Energy GAA Announcement Callanan and Eoghan O'Donnell at today's event. David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

“It’s a great honour for myself and Drom-Inch and that, but it doesn’t change anything really.”

The crew that started out together and broke through simultaneously are still there and as driven as ever, the fire in their belly probably even more prominent than before, he concludes.

“Absolutely. There’s nowhere else that we want to be. Playing for Tipperary is everything for us. We just want to try and make the most of it when you are there, try to get as much as we can out of it.

“The thing is, every other county has lads thinking the same. It’s just we have to drive it on and hopefully bring back something to the set-up this year because last year was disappointing; to be gone out of the championship on 9 June was very disappointing.

“We know we’re a bit away from it yet. We’re just hoping that we can set the building blocks and bit by bit, grind our way back to where we want to be.”


Bord Gáis Energy has today announced the extension of its sponsorship of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship guaranteeing three more years of unmissable GAA rewards for its customers, including #HurlingToTheCore training camps. For more information, see:

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