Tipperary manager Eamon O’Shea has mixed feeling after league final defeat
‘We’re not at the level that we want to be at yet – we’ll be trying hard to get there’
Kilkenny’s JJ Delaney and Lar Corbett of Tipperary get involved off the ball as goalkeeper Eoin Murphy attempts to intervene. Photograph: Inpho
Tipperary manager Eamon O’Shea’s status as hurling’s foremost academic was on show again after yesterday’s league final when he appeared to be referencing Jean-Paul Sartre when summarising the difficulties his team had faced.
The French philosopher once remarked that in football everything is complicated by the presence of the other team – which sounded pretty much like O’Shea’s view of how things had gone.
“You’ve got to be really careful about the game plans in hurling. The game was so fast and the opposition so strong and competitive that you’ve really sometimes got to play it as you see it.”
Kilkenny’s victory, which saw them retain the title, wasn’t all bad news for Tipperary who proved competitive over the 70 minutes despite not sustaining many high notes. Debutant wing back Kieran Bergin earned his manager’s praise.
“I think he was very good. In fairness the first five or 10 minutes he was under severe pressure and then he settled down and got into the game.
“We’re not at the level that we want to be at yet at all and we’ll be trying really hard to get there. We’ve a big game coming up . . . In terms of where we’re at we’ve a lot of ball work to do, a lot of speed work to do. Moving the ball under that sort of pressure – it was a brilliant game to have.”
The match featured red cards for Kilkenny full back JJ Delaney and Lar Corbett. O’Shea hadn’t any comment to make on it beyond noting: “Larry is a fantastic player. He’s still a fantastic player. I didn’t actually see what happened. Two players were grappling on the ground. Sometimes a referee sends players off and sometimes he doesn’t but I’ve absolutely no problem with the referee today. For me he had a fine game.”
With championship a few weeks away, he professed not to know whether his feelings were positive or negative.
“To me it was a high-grade game between two teams, one playing slightly better than the other and the other one trying to stay in the game and that was us and I think we did.”