Tipperary hurling victims of ‘nonsense’ rumours – Michael Cahill
Thurles Sarsfields defender hopeful Cathal Barrett returns to Tipp squad for new season
Michael Cahill in Croke Park to launch the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival. “Whatever it is about Tipperary, rumours seem to fly.” Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Tipperary defender Michael Cahill has described as “nonsense” some of the rumours which circulated around the county senior hurling team last summer, chiefly in the aftermath of fellow defender Cathal Barrett being dropped for disciplinary reasons after their Munster hurling quarter-final defeat to Cork.
“That stuff doesn’t help when you are trying to prepare for your season and you have this kind of nonsense going on in the background, and people driving on these rumours,” says Cahill.
“From that point of view it was a tough year, from a county point of view, and from a panel point of view. That is never going to stand to any team. As much as you put it to the back of your head, some of it could creep in. It doesn’t help that the whole thing gets drummed up then.”
Similar rumours circulated after Tipperary’s All-Ireland win in 2010, when they again fell short of winning back-to-back titles in 2011.
“I know. Whatever it is about Tipperary, rumours seem to fly, and this and that goes on. Sure all we can do is focus on our own set-up and that’s something we try to do. Sure that’s all we can do for the coming year, try and keep it low-key as possible.”
Cahill is hopeful Barrett will make his return to the panel for the new season. An All Star defender alongside Cahill on Tipperary’s 2016 All-Ireland-winning team, he wasn’t invited back onto the panel by manager Michael Ryan, before Tipperary later made their championship exit to Galway by a single point in the All-Ireland semi-final.
“Cathal is probably one of the best corner backs in the country and you always want to see your best hurlers playing,” says Cahill.
“I have no doubt that he will get the chance again and sure it’s up to Cathal then to do whatever he does with the chance. It would be great to see one of our top players back playing.”
Cahill, who earlier this month won a fourth successive Tipperary hurling title with Thurles Sarsfields – his seventh in all – is now turning his attention to the Munster club championship, the team having fall short of their own expectations in recent years.
Ground it out
“We’re lucky we’re at a stage where we’ve had a group of players together that just happen to be quite good. On top of that there are top guys involved with us. It stands to you when you get into those dogfights. The three games we played before this year’s final were probably the toughest games we have played, probably should have been beaten by Kilruane but we ground it out. Put it down to experience.
“Munster hasn’t been good to us over the last couple of years. We’re just finding it hard to get through those games, Ballyea last year they really just caught us at the finish. It just shows they went on to win Munster and on to the All-Ireland final.
“We took it hard [last year], so we’re just happy to get back and have a chance at it again. It’s hard to take for a couple of months. A couple of months down the road, you start training, you start winning a couple of games and you get that feeling again, all you want to do is push on. Number one was winning the county, extremely happy with that. Four in a row – we’ve haven’t done that for years. Now we’re taking it one step at a time. We can’t take our eye off the ball.”
Cahill also gives his approval to the new 2018 hurling championship format, which will see both the Munster and Leinster hurling championship played on a round-robin basis, ensuring at least four games for each county, two at home.
“I suppose from a panel point of view, just talking to someone about it the other day, you are going to really need a strong panel when it comes down to these games now because games are going to be coming fast and furious.
“If you get one injury it could rule you out for the rest of your campaign. It’s going to be fast and furious but I suppose there will be less training and more games which is ideally what players want to see. Whatever teams comes through it injury-free will really have the upper hand from that point of view. But I suppose it’s all trial and error.”