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Thurles Sarsfields defender pays tribute to Tipperary legend

Michael Cahill has highlighted the role of county legend Eoin Kelly in the team’s march to a four-in-a-row of Tipperary SHC titles.

Thurles Sarsfields' Michael Cahill (file pic).
Thurles Sarsfields' Michael Cahill (file pic).
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

THURLES SARSFIELDS DEFENDER Michael Cahill has highlighted the role of county legend Eoin Kelly in the team’s march to a four-in-a-row of Tipperary SHC titles.

Kelly, Tipp’s All-Ireland winning captain of 2010, joined the Thurles management team earlier this year and has helped steer the team to yet another crown.

Now they’re looking to push on in Munster and claim a provincial title that has frustratingly eluded them in recent years with Kelly’s involvement perhaps the missing piece in that puzzle.

“Eoin has years of experience with Tipperary, he was probably number one and carried Tipperary there for years when things weren’t going so well,” said Cahill.

A lot of us would have hurled with him, a fiercely passionate guy and when Eoin talks people listen. Just to have that, and that experience, and a different voice really to bring into the setup, it’s been massive for the lads and massive for the young guys.

“Eoin is probably a hero for so many across the county and within our setup, so you are going to listen when he talks. He’s been really good for us and he’s played a big role in where we are at the moment.”

It wasn’t such an enjoyable a year for Cahill on the county scene, however, with Tipperary relinquishing their Munster and All-Ireland titles, and losing in the league final to Galway.

Cahill admitted that constant and often salacious rumours about the players made it a particularly difficult year.

The rumour mill went into overdrive when defensive colleague Cathal Barrett was dropped from the panel in May for apparent disciplinary reasons.

Tipp captain Padraic Maher described the rumours as ‘ridiculous’ at the time and insisted the players simply laughed at them.

But Cahill acknowledged that they took their toll with Michael Ryan’s side eventually coming up a point short of Galway in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

“That stuff doesn’t help when you are trying to prepare, when you have this kind of nonsense going on in the background and people driving on these rumours,” said Cahill.

That is never going to help any team. As much as you put it to the back of your head, some of it does creep in.

“Whatever it is about Tipperary, rumours seem to fly and this and that goes on.”

Barrett, an All-Star in 2016, wasn’t recalled to the Tipperary panel during the Championship though Cahill is optimistic that his former colleague will get his chance again.

That could come as soon as next month when Tipperary compete in the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic in Boston, a four-team event that will be played in 11-a-side format.

Cathal is probably one of the best corner-backs in the country and you always want to see your best hurlers playing,” said Cahill. “I have no doubt that he will get that chance again and it’s up to Cathal then to do whatever he does with that chance. It would be great to see one of our top players back playing.”

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Paul Keane

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