Referee Sean Cleere steps in to calm Cathal Barrett (Tipperary) and Bill Cooper (Cork) during Sunday’s National Hurling League game at Páirc Uí Rinn. Robert Byrne and Noel McGrath look on.
Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy may not admit it but he must have been mightily relieve after Sunday’s win over Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Not alone did he get the result he desired, but the performance was the best he has witnessed since his return for a second stint in the job. It will be a tonic for the troops as they now head for a quarter-final clash with Dublin at the Stadium on Saturday. With the Munster championship just over two months away it was a confidence boost to all involved.
Commenting afterwards the Portroe man said: “It was a good result, a fighting result, and it was a good performance. We moved the ball well. There was a bit of flow about us today and I thought we were working hard in the middle area. We worked that area well. We have some really good players and when they get on the ball they can do really good things so. We hit 16 points in the first half and 1-13 in the second. It is a good summation of the day.” he said.
He did go on to express a slight concern though: “We would be a bit disappointed with the finish. We did sit back, and we did let Cork come at us. They could have got another score or two and that would disappoint us. Overall it was a good day, said a very pleased team manager.
Welcome as the win was, it is what it is and there will be no losing perspective of that in the mind of Sheedy who led Tipperary to an All-Ireland title back in 2010.
“Again it is the middle of March we won’t be getting carried away or anything like that. It is nine weeks out from what is the start of the championship. The day for what it was in the middle of March is a good day.” In Sheedy’s mind their will be bigger fish to fry as the hurling season develops.
The Tipperary forward line hit a level on Sunday that we haven’t seen for a while and it was pleasing according to Liam Sheedy.
“It was nice to get our scores on the board today. When the chances presented themselves in the first half I think they took them. I think 16 points is a fair return for that first half performance and Jason (Forde) was unnering mainly from placed balls as well so that aspect of our play meant that when we got the chances we converted them. So it was a good day.”
You could nearly visualise the bigger picture in the Tipp manager's head as he spoke.
“It was a tough day because these boys have a lot of work put in this week (Spain was for winter training and not a holiday). You’d always be wondering if they would have enough in the tank but the way the structure is now when is a good time to try and get a bit of time together, when is a good time to get away. They will be tired bodies tonight because in fairness the work that they have done in the last seven days is heroic. I have huge time for the way they are applying themselves and trying to get to the pitch of it because it is a very high bar,” he concluded.
The hurling year has now begun in earnest.