‘It speaks volumes for his passion, his drive and his interest in Tipperary hurling’

LIAM SHEEDY IS back in charge of the Tipperary senior hurlers for the second time.

Back once again: Liam Sheedy.

Source: Cathal Noonan

Eight years after departing as an All-Ireland winning boss with the Premier county, he’s taken the reins as Michael Ryan’s successor on a three-year term.

The Portroe man was in charge of Tipperary between 2008 and 2010, steering them to Liam McCarthy glory in his last campaign as they ended Kilkenny’s five in-a-row bid.

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He also oversaw their National League victory in 2008 and two Munster successes.

The appointment has been warmly welcomed in Tipperary, with hurling fans near and wide delighted to see Sheedy back in the inter-county mix. 

And former Galway star Ollie Canning is delighted to see the 48-year-old back at the Tipperary helm.

“Look, Liam is a good guy,” four-time All-Star defender Canning said at the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Awards in Croke Park yesterday.

“It just shows his drive and his passion for Tipperary hurling. Liam came in for a couple of seasons and won an All-Ireland in 2010 and then passed on the baton to the next management team. It was fairytale stuff for Liam really in his managerial career, the way it worked out for him. 

Ollie Canning in action for Galway in 2010.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“For him to go back and put his reputation on the line again, I feel it speaks volumes for his passion and his interest in Tipperary hurling. He obviously feels that he has the raw material to work with, as in the players.

“I know last season didn’t go that well for Tipperary. They didn’t qualify in the top three of the round robin series in Munster but if you look back on the previous three years in the championship, only one point separated Tipperary and Galway every year between a one-point loss (2015), one-point win (2016), one-point loss (2017)…..

“Tipperary are competing. As we know, Galway won the All-Ireland last year. In the previous three years, one point is all that separated them teams. 

“Liam Sheedy is probably looking at it going, ‘Yeah, I think the players are there but they probably just need a refresh and a new management team in to try and look at it from a different angle and try and get more out of these players.”

He added: “It’s going to be very interesting. The championship now, I think, has resemblance to back in the 90s where you had different teams like Offaly and Wexford breaking through, winning All-Irelands.

“For me, the championship is probably as open as it has ever been in the last 15 or 20 years. Bear in mind we had the great Kilkenny team that really dominated for 10 or 12 years, even longer. 

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Tipp lifted the silver in 2016.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“For me, I think any of five or six teams could win it (next year). If you look at last year’s championship, I’m sure Cork and Clare were disappointed that they didn’t get over the line in the semi-finals. 

“We could have been talking about Cork and Clare in an All-Ireland final and that has to give them encouragement for next year.”

Another man well versed to voice his opinion on Sheedy’s return is Mattie Murphy. A hurling manager who had a second coming himself, Murphy was in charge of the Galway hurlers firstly for the 1994 and 1995 seasons and then again between 1998 and 2000.

“I think it’s a positive for Tipp,” he said as he received the Electric Ireland Special Merit Award for 2018. “He had a very good working relationship with them.

“It’ll depend on who he puts in his backroom team. Is he going to be able to get Eamon O’Shea to go back and join him? There’s a rumour down our side that he’s going to join another backroom team. I don’t know. 

“There’s a lot of egos inside the Tipp camp at the moment. There are a few fellas that need to be told on no uncertain terms, ‘You either behave or there’s no place here for you’. Because they’re hurlers above the ordinary, it’s not that easy to do it. Ultimately, it’ll be the breaking point.

Congratulations to Mattie Murphy, winner of the Special Merit Award for 2018! #GAAThisIsMajor pic.twitter.com/CgIWvOXx4D

— Electric Ireland (@ElectricIreland) September 29, 2018

“He either gets them lads to toe the line or he works without them. You can’t have fellas inside your set-up (that go against the manager). There’s too much negativity going on then because there’s fellas that are behaving themselves, doing everything according to plan and following your instructions and then there’s one or two who, on a regular basis, decide that they have another set of rules.”

Murphy, who has guided the Tribesmen to six All-Ireland minor hurling titles, added of troublemakers from his own experience:

“You can’t tolerate them. By holding onto them, it’s short-term gain. By getting rid of them, you’re laying down your marker.

“You’re in the job not to be liked, you’re in the job to do it and to have some success. You won’t be successful by being a nice fella and not biting the bullet.”

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