Tipperary need to "wise up" says Sheedy.
There is a lot to be learned and if Tipp had 2018 back again they’d do things a little bit differently, says the Tipp Boss who added that the county needs to 'wise up'.
New Tipperary senior hurling Manager Liam Sheedy has spoken of the lessons learned from Tipperary's experience in 2018 and has hinted that things will be different for the coming season.
The Premier County went all the way to the Allianz National Hurling League Final, which they lost in Nowlan park to Kilkenny, and then underwent a gruelling club fixture schedule during the month of April, ahead of the first Munster championship game against Limerick. The result was that an over exerted panel had to endure four successive weekends of championship hurling on the trot and ultimately, their season crashed and burned in a flame of fatigue.
So, will Tipperary's approach be different in 2019? – certainly, Liam's predecessor and work colleague Michael Ryan suggested it would be prior to his departure.
“All the time we need to look at what is best for the county and what is best for the players, and try and time it right. I was at Congress where the big hullaballoo was made but the reality is 22 of the 32 counties totally ignored the blueprint and there was no consequences for them whatsoever. So there is no point in us being one of the ten that say, yes we’ll play by the rules, while everyone else decides to go and do their own thing and run meaningless club games where ultimately their championship players aren’t being played anyway.
“I have no problem but we need to wise up a small and make sure it is a level playing field because anything other than that is unfair. Because we (Tipp) went and did it right, others decided they wouldn’t bother and would take the law into their own hands with no consequences at the back of it. We just need to be clear that we are not impeding ourselves by doing it a certain way and then coming up against a certain team that was way-way fresher when you face off.
“The one thing we learnt last year is that your first game is important in the championship in terms of getting off to a good start. We all know what our record is like when it comes to playing championship matches in Cork, that’s a massive massive battle. The last time I won down there was the first time in 83 years , so we are not regulars on the podium down there. We have to make sure that we time that right so that the players can be the best version of themselves on that day.
“Mick would say the four weeks in a row - if we had anything in the tank against Clare - we would have seen it out. In fairness to them, the performance they put in was heroic off the back of what they had been through. The most we are going to play is two weeks, then a break, then a match, then another week of a break, then another game.
“Ultimately there is huge learnings from this year but I am looking at the calendar from 27th January right up to the end of that fourth match and I have to ensure that the calendar is mapped out to give us the best chance for success, and very cognisant of the fact that make sure that club players get no action in that period because that isn’t fair either, it’s about getting the balance right.”
There's a big year ahead for Tipp then, but Liam says that there should be no loose talk of national titles at this stage.
“We don't really have a right to be talking about national titles because we didn't manage to get to the top six in 2018. But, that's not to say that the ambition won't be there and this team won't be well prepared for battle, both in terms of the first round of the league in January and when we have to go to Cork to kick off our championship. We have a lot of work to do between now and then but my experience of Tipp teams is that they are never found wanting as far as work is concerned.
So will Tipp be going gung-ho for the league then?
“Winning is a good habit. If you look at Kilkenny winning the league this year, I don’t think if did them any harm in the championship, they were very unlucky to lose out to Limerick. Galway won the league in 2017 and went onto win the All Ireland but we just need to be careful in Tipperary about all that is going on. You have a really strong run in the league and then you come back and try and play three high powered club championship matches and then you are straight into four weeks in a row.
“So you have to really understand what is coming at you and when it is coming at you, and one thing we have got to be cognisant of that these guys are not machines and you can’t expect them to be professionals, they do need their rest time and I’m a very big believer that there has to be an element of rest in this, and that is what makes it enjoyable if you can time it.
“The fact it was the first time last year, there is a lot of learning to be done from year one and if Tipp had 2018 back again they’d do things a little bit differently because with what they did in the league, what they did in the club championships, and then the four weeks in a row in the championship, they did really well to be where they were - that was a savage volume of work in such a short period of time,” he says.