Eamon O’Shea confident he can manage three-week break before replay

Tipperary coach focused on replay in immediate aftermath of All-Ireland hurling final draw againt Kilkenny

 Tipperary manager Eamon O’Shea: believes Tipperary’s experience of “sticky situations” in championship games this year was crucial against Kilkenny. Photograph: Inph0

Tipperary manager Eamon O’Shea: believes Tipperary’s experience of “sticky situations” in championship games this year was crucial against Kilkenny. Photograph: Inph0

 

Eamon O’Shea is confident that he can properly manage the three-week break before the All-Ireland senior hurling final replay against Kilkenny on September 27th.

Tipperary manager O’Shea revealed that when he woke on Monday morning, thoughts had immediately turned to the rematch, following last Sunday’s epic Croke Park stalemate.

O’Shea told Tipp FM: “Even when the game ended, I was thinking we still have a job to do in three weeks. That doesn’t change when you wake up in the morning. You’re looking forward rather than looking back - but it was a great game.”

There was an added bonus for O’Shea on Monday evening when local fixtures-makers confirmed that three of the four divisional senior hurling finals, originally pencilled in for next Sunday, have been postponed.

The North final, between Burgess and Éire Óg Nenagh, will go ahead as scheduled as there is no county representation on either club panel.

But the West, Mid and South divisional finals have been put back until after the Kilkenny replay.

Speaking before Tipperary CCC officials confirmed the changes, county board chairman Sean Nugent acknowledged: “We feel now that we’re in a different situation than we were after winning against Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final.”

County board officials received some criticism after allowing divisional semi-finals to go ahead just a fortnight before the All-Ireland final, when all players involved came through unscathed.

But there is an unwillingness to take the same chance again, even if Tipp will now struggle to provide representatives for the Munster club championships on time.

Nugent will now seek discussions with Munster Council officials in an attempt to find some common ground on provincial club fixtures.

The Tipperary county champions are due to play either the Clare or Waterford kingpins in the Munster senior club hurling semi-final on November 9th.

And with the next three weekends now lost because of the All-Ireland final replay on September 27, Tipp are facing a race against time to provide a champion in time.

It may have to come down to a situation where Tipp are forced to nominate a club to compete.

Meanwhile, O’Shea believes that Tipperary’s experience of “sticky situations” in championship games this year was crucial as they came from four points down to claim a draw on Sunday.

He explained: “We’ve been through a few sticky situations during the year and I think the team learned from that.

“There’s a good deal of experience in the team and a good deal of new blood as well.

“Certainly that all came together to have that belief in the end.”

He added: “It was a game where so many things happened.

“We took the initiative midway through the first half and they got it back again.

“Two points in it at half-time and then a goal immediately after half-time from Kilkenny.

“They scored another one midway through the half but I thought we stayed working hard and I suppose the key is if you stay in the game, you have a chance. So it turned out.”

And O’Shea insisted that he wasn’t “in the least bit surprised” by Tipp’s ability to dig in when faced by that second half deficit.

He said: “All you can try to do is respond to whatever adversity comes your way.

“That’s what the team did and they’ve been doing that for a lot of the year. I wasn’t in the least bit surprised.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Kilkenny players and management did not attend the post-match reception in the players’ lounge situated in the bowels of the Hogan Stand.

Traditionally, players from both sides mingle there after big games but Kilkenny headed straight for the team bus, and stayed there, as Tipperary availed of light refreshments.

Wives and girlfriends of the Kilkenny players were present at the post-match event but left when it became clear that their partners would not be joining them.

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