Eamon O’Shea was ratified as Tipperary’s new senior hurling team manager at a county board meeting in Thurles last night.
The Galway-based professor worked alongside Liam Sheedy as coach when the Premier County won the All-Ireland senior title in 2010.
Sheedy, O’Shea and selector Michael Ryan were appointed in 2007 and served for three seasons at the helm, before vacating their positions following the All-Ireland success two years ago.
An official Tipperary County Board statement issued last night indicated there is no news to report yet on O’Shea’s new backroom team but Ryan has been linked with a selector’s role again. Former players Declan Fanning and Eamon Corcoran have also been mentioned locally as possible contenders to work alongside O’Shea.
The news the Kilruane MacDonagh’s clubman is returning to the Tipperary set-up will be warmly greeted by players, officials and supporters alike.
Sheedy was the obvious figurehead when Tipp ran Kilkenny desperately close in 2009, before halting the ‘drive for five’ in a classic final a year later. But O’Shea’s tactical acumen, hurling brain and coaching skills have been lauded by the players who worked under him during the Sheedy era.
O’Shea is credited with developing the style of play that accounted for the Cats in the 2010 decider, with Lar Corbett afforded the space to score a hat-trick of goals.
O’Shea’s return could also prompt a number of seasoned campaigners to give it another season in the blue and gold. Experienced stars Brendan Cummins, Eoin Kelly, Paul Curran and John O’Brien may have been mulling over their futures since the 18-point hammering by Kilkenny in last August’s All-Ireland semi-final.
The arrival of O’Shea is likely to infuse that influential quartet with fresh enthusiasm as Tipp look to rebuild following the county’s heaviest senior hurling championship defeat since the 1800s.
O’Shea takes over the reins from Declan Ryan, who stepped down following the Kilkenny massacre, along with Tommy Dunne and Michael ‘Glossy’ Gleeson.
Nugent had indicated last week that O’Shea was “unlikely” to take up the position but fresh negotiations have since taken place and the deal is now officially done.
Minutes circulated to delegates attending last night’s county board meeting at the Thurles Sarsfields centre indicated that, as of last week, no real progress had been made in the hunt for Ryan’s successor, as reported by Nugent publicly last week.
But the process moved on significantly since then and Nugent was pleased last night to recommend O’Shea’s name for ratification, following a meeting of the board’s executive committee.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed last night that Peter Creedon, who served as interim manager of the Tipperary senior footballers for this summer’s championship campaign, will become the team’s full-time boss next year. The Cork native will be assisted by Gerry McGill and Michael O’Loughlin.
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