Manager Liam Cahill is joined on the Tipperary under-21 hurling management team by John Sheedy, Seán Corbett, TJ Ryan and coach Michael Bevans.
It did not take a genius to notice something funny about the performance of the Tipperary under-21 hurlers in the Munster final against Cork. Not funny ha, ha - funny peculiar. The Rebels won with thirteen points to spare, but, worse still, there seemed like there was no spirit in the Premier County team. Tipperary take on Galway in the Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship semi-final on Wednesday, August 8th at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick (7.30pm) with manager Liam Cahill eager to point out this week that “redemption” is the top priority for the men draped in blue and gold.
“Redemption is big on our agenda now. We really want to put a performance together to show that we are a good side and a lot better than what we portrayed below in Cork on the fourth of July,” Liam Cahill told the Tipperary Star this week. Indeed, the Ballingarry man admitted that the target for this under-21 hurling team is simple and basic: Tipperary want to deliver a performance which is worthy of the county that the team represents.
“It is that simple and it is that basic. It’s a case of the management (team) too having to put their neck on the block and make sure that we pick the players that are in form. It is absolutely vital that they are ready to do whatever is required to get a result. Anyone that shows us the wrong signs or shows me for a second in training that they are struggling with being in here will not be considered,” Liam Cahill added before heralding a Tipperary under-21 squad which he believes is stuff full of real leaders.
“I have a lot of leaders in that group,” Liam Cahill insisted.
“There was no one more disappointed than the players, really. It was a tough couple of days for everybody involved. They were conscious as well of the Tipperary supporters who made the long trek over to Cork. Tipp supporters never mind to see a team beaten that is trying its’ living best, but these boys didn’t try on the night - it just didn’t seem to be there. They know that and they know what is expected of them when they play for Tipp.
“And, that’s something that we are very strong on here; that’s something that Mikey Bevans, our coach, is a big believer in - setting our own standards. When we didn’t set our standards down in Cork it left a lot of people disappointed and very bemused as well as to why. We have done what we can do as to find out why what happened did happen,” Liam Cahill explained.
READY TO PERFORM
Tipperary beat Limerick thanks to a rousing display in their provincial semi-final (1-22 to 1-13) at Semple Stadium, but came undone to a significant degree against Cork in the Munster final - the Premier County lost by thirteen points (1-13 to 2-23) to the Rebels on July 4th at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork.
And, the really frustrating aspect to the Munster final was the fact that Liam Cahill believed that his players were ready to perform: “I did and I said it after the match and I have no issues in saying it: I did not see that coming. Obviously, we went down with a great confidence to win the match. We knew that it was going to be a massive struggle taking on a quality Cork side in their own back yard, but I did not foresee the performance being so flat and being beaten in so many areas on the field.
“The reality of it is that we are exactly where we want to be. We are one hour away from an All-Ireland final. We have to park the Munster final - that’s over. Our preparation is all about Galway. The majority of our focus is on ourselves and just getting the best performance that we can on the day. And, if the performance is there we will be in with a great shout,” the Ballingarry man said before highlighting Tipperary’s rousing display against Limerick in the provincial semi-final (1-22 to 1-13) at Semple Stadium, Thurles as an accurate example of what the current under-21 panel are truly capable of.
“The players were bitterly disappointed and nobody could really put their finger on any one thing as to why we were so flat, lacklustre and beaten in so many areas throughout the night. But the thing is we know that is not us,” Liam Cahill explained.
“That is the first time that this group of players have ever failed on my watch. My respect and admiration for these men is immense. They know that and they know that they are a way better team than the way that they performed in Cork. They are very, very adamant now that they want to prove that and redeem themselves. They know that they might be a young under-21 side, but there is quality in this side. There was an awful lot to like about us against a good Limerick side. We need to tap back into that and see where it will take us,” the Ballingarry man added.
Kilsheelan-Kilcash’s Mark Kehoe is hoping that he can help inspire the Tipperary under-21s to an All-Ireland semi-final win over Galway - you can read our interview with the Premier County star by clicking here.
WORK NEATLY CARVED OUT
Liam Cahill (Ballingarry) leads the Tipperary under-21 management team alongside coach Michael Bevans (Toomevara) and selectors John Sheedy (Portroe), Seán Corbett (Boherlahan-Dualla) and TJ Ryan (Clonoulty-Rossmore).
And, Liam Cahill admitted this week that Tipperary had their work neatly carved out for them after such a disappointing Munster final display against Cork.
“We had a good bit of work to do as the result in Cork showed. In fairness to the lads they have responded well. They have rolled up their sleeves, got back to the training field and worked hard,” Liam Cahill explained.
“We went back to preparing them in-house. What was always said to me as a player was that the only place you could put anything right was in the training field. We had to go back to what we know best: that’s going back to getting that taste of good, hard work in our throat again; look at a few things tactically and do a little bit around what Galway are going to bring and be ready for that. But, most of all, we had to tap back into that honesty that we know is there in this particular group and really have ourselves as best prepared, mentally and physically, as we can,” the Tipperary under-21 manager said.
“In fairness to the County Board and the clubs involved as well we have had a good healthy squad in here over the last number of weeks and months. We now have that really tightened up to thirty-odd players and it’s A v B here every night. And, whoever is showing us the form in training and especially in the important club matches that have taken place will have a big influence on what fifteen and what twenty players that we will use,” Liam Cahill said.
During their Leinster under-21 championship campaign Galway beat Offaly (1-20 to 0-8) in the quarter-finals and saw off the challenge of Kilkenny (3-13 to 1-17) before requiring extra-time to get the better of Wexford with just a point to spare thanks to a dramatic late goal in the provincial final (4-21 to 2-26).
Please note that on May 17th Galway beat the Tipperary under-21 hurling team by nine points in a thrilling challenge match played at MacDonagh Park, Cloughjordan (4-23 to 3-17). Galway led that encounter 2-12 to 2-9 at the break and although Tipperary fought back to take the lead (3-14 to 2-15) after the interval the Tribesmen absolutely dominated the final quarter when out-scoring the home side by eleven points (2-8 to 0-3).
“We found it very difficult on the night to deal with them,” admitted Liam Cahill.
“Galway were everything that they have showed over the last number of games in the Leinster championship. They are big, strong, well able to travel, have a great game plan and they have, if I am being honest, a very similar game plan to Cork. So, it’s a brilliant opportunity for these young (Tipperary) men to show what they have learned from what went on in Cork,” the Ballingarry man added.
“We were beaten by six or seven points in the finish and struggled for long periods of the match as well. We seemed to find it hard to get into our rhythm, but that was relatively early into our preparations and our time together so while we learned from it we were not massively concerned about it on the night. And yet, it did give us a fair eye-opener as regards the quality of Galway. But there will be no excuses from anybody - be it players, management or anybody involved - next Saturday because this, for us, is everything. We have to come and be ready to play.
“Galway are an excellent side and are probably second favourites if not favourites to win the All-Ireland at this stage. There is no bigger test for fellas who want to prove that there is a performance in us. If we don’t perform against Galway from the word go we are going to be in equally as much trouble as we were against Cork. So, we are aware of that. We have looked at the areas that might have caused us concern leading up to the match and during the match. We have addressed a couple of areas and we hope that we have enough done to put in a massive performance. And, we will see if we can get a result.”
And, Liam Cahill has a message too for Tipperary supporters ahead of this weekend’s All-Ireland semi-final, especially those who were disappointed with the quality of the Munster final showing and who are now thinking about not travelling to support the blue and gold at the Gaelic Grounds.
“It they are true Tipperary supporters they will travel,” insisted Liam Cahill.
“If they are true Tipperary supporters they will be disappointed - no more than I was myself when I travelled to see Tipp teams play who didn’t perform. This squad are not the first Tipp team not to perform and I would say to these people to just tap into the qualities that you know are there having watched them as minors and having watched them play against Limerick in the semi-final of the Munster championship. The nucleus is there. They are genuine young Tipperary men that really, really want to play for Tipperary. And, they really want to put this thing right by bringing a big performance on Saturday.”
TIPPERARY UNDER-21 TEAM
Manager Liam Cahill named the following Premier County under-21 hurling team to face Cork in the recent Munster final: Ciarán Barrett (Clonmel Óg), Pádraig Campion (Drom & Inch), Brian McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), Killian O'Dwyer (Killenaule), Cian Flanagan (Newport), Paddy Cadell (JK Bracken’s), Dillon Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Ger Browne (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams), Colin English (Fr Sheehy's, captain), Jerome Cahill (Kilruane MacDonagh’s), Paudie Feehan (Killenaule), Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), David Gleeson (Ballinahinch), Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg), Lyndon Fairbrother (JK Bracken’s). Subs: Barry Hogan (Kiladangan), Conor Stakelum (Thurles Sarsfields), Cian Darcy (Kilruane MacDonagh’s), Darragh Woods (Holycross-Ballycahill), Robert Byrne (Portroe), Michael Purcell (Thurles Sarsfields), Craig Morgan (Kilruane MacDonagh’s), Shane Neville (Lattin-Cullen) and Ray McCormack (Borris-Ileigh).
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