In the backlash to Tipperary’s Munster championship defeat to Cork nobody was spared, not even Seamus Callanan.
One particularly lewd rumour doing the rounds in the days after that setback related to Callanan’s personal life and alleged trouble in the Tipperary camp generally.
Callanan actually scored 0-6 that day despite struggling in the build-up with a hand injury yet still ended up as the butt of quite vicious rumours.
As captain Padraic Maher noted last week, championship defeats for Tipperary seem to be scrutinised and commented upon so much more than in any other county.
Callanan, a two-time All-Ireland winner and a nominee for Player of the Year in each of the last three seasons, has come to appreciate what Maher is talking about.
“I don’t know why that is, I don’t know what the reason for that is,” said Callanan. “I suppose there is maybe an expectancy that we’ll win every game and when we don’t there is obviously a backlash.
“We’d set sights for ourselves that we’d win every day we go out but, ultimately, you have to give Cork credit, they are a fabulous team.
“And Galway in the league final, they are flying this year, so our two defeats were against teams that really performed and there is no shame in that either. There is great expectancy there but we’re doing our best.”
Cathal Barrett’s axing from the panel for a breach of team discipline, a development that was confirmed by the management, seemed to open the floodgates for the various rumours and tall tales that followed on social media and the WhatsApp messaging service.
“Sure there’s the world of nonsense talk going around but I presume it goes around a lot of other panels too,” said Callanan. “What can we do? We have no control over what people want to say about us. They’re absolutely unfounded rumours but we have no control of that. It’s terrible that these rumours go around but we are kind of powerless towards it.”
Kerry legend DarraghÓ Sé stated yesterday in his Irish Times column that the ‘rise of social media’ is the biggest change in the life of inter-county players, since he retired.
He cited the example of the furore in Tipperary over the rumours that were spread online and admitted it must be difficult for players to deal with.
“This is the age of social media, unfortunately,” said Callanan. “What can you do it about it really? You have to drive on as a group and the only way we can answer people is on the hurling field.
“Positive or negative talk, you have to distance yourself from it. Because you have to concentrate on your training every night and your routines and your own processes that you go through.
“Whether it’s good stuff that’s being said about you or bad stuff, neither of it is productive for GAA players to be looking at really. I think you just have to take it for what it is and move on.”
Callanan said he’s at a loss to explain Tipp’s poor results over the last few weeks, beginning with a heavy league final defeat to Galway.
He said there were no warning lights flashing on before either of those games though, with 2010 in mind, perhaps losing to Cork was a good omen. Tipp similarly fell to Cork at the first hurdle back then but recovered to win the All-Ireland.
“You can’t just refer to 2010 and think it’s going to be the same way, every day is different and we were a different panel in 2010 and every other team is different as well,” said Callanan. “It’s completely different.”
The Drom-Inch man will be keeping an eye on the outcome of Saturday’s Central Council meeting which will deal with the proposals for reform of the hurling Championship.
If passed, a new round robin structure within the Munster and Leinster championships would come into existence from next year.
“I’m a fan of the way things are at the moment,” said the big full-forward. “The way the championship is at the moment is the only thing I know and I’m happy with it.”
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