Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea. INPHO/James Crombie
looking ahead

Eamon O’Shea on Kieran Bergin and trying to find jobs for out-of-work stars

The Premier County face Limerick in their Munster championship opener this weekend.

8. Kieran Bergin, who made his senior debut for Tipperary against Kilkenny in the National League final

“I’m very happy for him, he was put in a difficult environment and in the first 5-10 minutes, watching the game, there was a lot of play over that side of the pitch. I think they (Kilkenny) scored 1-2, not from him, but the guy just stepped up. He is older than other guys (27), you can’t beat a bit of life experience to see you through. I have great time for him and have no doubts about him at all. We knew that whatever happened he would give a good account of himself.”

7. The ‘open-ended’ nature of the Tipperary panel

“I am going to club matches on Sundays and all the players playing club hurling need to know on a given day that they could be asked to come into training. I believe club players have to have an incentive or there should be an incentive for club players to perform for their club and improve the championship and it makes sure everyone is committed and associated with the county team.

“It’s always open ended but I do believe in the club structure; I was at the quarter finals of the North Tipperary Championships and I believe there has to be a relationship between the county team and the club structures. If there is not, it defeats the purpose of what we are doing.”

6. Competition for places

“It’s not about the first 15. I have 30 guys that are bursting to get on the 26 for match day and those 26 are bursting to get on the first 15. They come in and have a really good cut off it and whatever happens, happens.

“It’s a competitive environment, there is no point in me going to training tonight and having 15 players training for the last five weeks to play against Limerick, because we’d certainly lose. It has to be competitive.

“You try and go out there to play as long as you can, if it is working for you it’s working for you, if you’re fit and it works for the full 70 minutes that’s great, but if it doesn’t, somebody else comes in. Players all know that now, it is different from my time when if you weren’t on the first 15 it was a catastrophe.”

5. National League final defeat to Kilkenny

“I was very happy to play in the League final, there were times when I didn’t feel we would. I was happy with bits and pieces of the game.

“Where we were in terms of our hurling, we have moved on since then and I am hoping we have moved on positively.

“It was a tough environment going down to Nowlan Park and playing and I thought the team gave a good account of themselves and stayed in the game for a long time, even though the best team won.”

4. The general consensus that it will be Tipperary and Kilkenny fighting it out for All-Ireland glory again

“Certainly none of our players will be thinking like that; they are not allowed think like that.. I think Clare are an excellent team; Galway are a team that are going to be very interesting and I think the team we are playing next Sunday are a really good team. I could add in other teams. I think Limerick have what a lot of other teams don’t have in that they have really good forwards and I think they will be as big a challenge as ever Tipperary have faced. I view this as a really competitive game, I couldn’t sit here in all honesty and give you any indication of what is going to happen.”

3. Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds

(General view of the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick - INPHO/Cathal Noonan)

“As a young fella, all my memories are of going to the Gaelic Grounds. I love it as a traditional Munster venue and the more people that are in it the better, I’d love it if it was packed out.

“I’m aware going into the home venue of your opponent can be seen as some psychological advantage but I don’t feel like that. I’d be fairly traditional when it comes to these games, plus it is handier to get to than Cork; from that point of view I’d get home a bit earlier!”

2. The impact of managing Tipperary on his personal life

“It is a bit tricky, it’s tough going. The real enjoyment happens when I go into training and see the ball moving pretty quickly and that’s where it all comes together. I know you guys come to match day and it is all about match day but for me it is between 7.30 and 9pm and I see the ball moving as quick as it can.

“We don’t train any differently, we just train on Tuesdays and Thursdays and weekends. I’ve got really good back-up as well. The amount of work I have to do is probably less than I was doing the last time in terms of physicality. A lot of the work organisationally is done in terms of players being fit and being right.”

1. Trying to find jobs for his unemployed players

“I certainly feel I have some responsibility to mentor some of these guys. You can’t always find them jobs but I do think we could be doing more to ensure work is available for these guys.

“But at the same time, people have their own responsibility but we could do more and certainly we are aware of it. You can’t play sport at the level that is required here and then feel why aren’t I working like everybody else. I certainly feel there is a big effort needed to ensure that people are supported.

“I think there are no more than five (unemployed), maybe not even that amount; students are finishing now for the summer and I don’t count them.

“I think it is a big problem, clubs are losing players all over the place to the United States.”

Limerick’s John Allen on competing with top sides and ignoring clueless commentators>

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