Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy acknowledges that the county supporters have sometimes “questioned our work ethic”, stressing the need for that attribute to succeed in Munster.
“In fairness we would feel that sometimes maybe our own fans would question our work ethic throughout the pitch, and that’s something we would show flashes of.
“But look, we’ve all listened behind the old stand and on that sideline and they do reward that honest endeavour, and that’s something that... we have very, very skilful players, but it’s bringing that and complementing that with a really, really high work ethic and I think that’s where the bar is set in the Munster championship.
“There’s a serious, serious work ethic required now to be competitive at the top level so I think the boys are prepared to a level to leave it all there on the pitch and I can’t ask any more of them.
Sheedy’s side face Cork in their championship opener on Sunday afternoon.
“We found ourselves outside the top three last year, and that’s not a place any of the five teams want to be.
“So you’ve got to take it game by game and for us it all starts on the 12th of May and we’ve got to go away to a team that hasn’t been beaten in the last two years in Cork and they’re going for the three in a row in the Munster championship.
“So to be going down to Cork, to a pitch where our results speak for themselves, it’s not a place that can be seen as a happy hunting ground either at U21 or senior level.
“But that’s the challenge of the Munster championship, we know exactly what’s facing us and it’s something that we’ve got to embrace.
“We’ve put a lot into our preparation so we’re just really looking forward to it.”
It’s the second year of the Munster championship format and Sheedy feels every team has “a little bit more awareness” this season. “Last year everybody was getting used to the format, trying to build themselves in terms of the four weeks in a row.
“We all have a little bit more awareness now in terms of what the structure of the Munster championship looks like, so I think you’ll see a bigger and better championship and whatever three teams get to the top of the pile come the 16th of June, they’ll have earned it.
“It’s a great place to be. You probably don’t realise what you’re missing, when you get a chance to work with top-class players, top-class athletes who just give you so much every night of the week...
“I’d have huge, huge admiration for the work they put in, these players should be complimented for it and I know it’s replicated all across the country.”
The Portree clubman wasn’t giving much away about Tipperary’s likely tactical approach.
“We have a style of play that we want to play in this Munster championship and I’m very happy that we have the players to execute it but every day will bring you a different challenge.
“We’ve seen enough of each other now to know people’s strengths and areas that they’re working on as regards style of play.
“I’m very comfortable, our preparations have gone extremely well, all of our focus will shift on to what way we want to play and on any given day I feel I have the players that can go in and start the job.
“I also feel we have a good, strong bench because ultimately I feel the teams that will be most competitive in this championship are the ones that can stay the distance and have the pool of talent to pick from and we have put in a lot of work to try and get our overall panel mix right, and that’s where we’re at.”
The Tipperary public have rowed in behind the team, he added: “I can only speak of my involvement and any time I’ve been involved, they’ve come right in behind us.
“They don’t ask for much, in my view, they just want to see a really honest performance and that anyone who puts on that jersey understands what it means and the honour that goes with it to wear that jersey.
Among them will be Eamon O’Shea, who served as a selector with Sheedy in his first term with Tipperary.
“Eamon and myself is something that goes back a long way and I’m very fortunate to have people like Eamon, Tommy (Dunne) and Darragh (Egan) working around the field, they’re all exceptional coaches and all exceptional people.
“It really is full on. When you’ve got up to 40 players on the pitch, you need a lot of bodies and we’re very fortunate in Tipp to have the calibre of people like Eamon, Tommy and Darragh.
“The fact that they’re home grown, it really does help as well in terms of our ethos and what we’re trying to achieve in Tipperary. I think the support team around you is very, very important and I’m very fortunate that I’ve got some really, really close friends in those roles.
“Ultimately all I do is facilitate the team. The manager’s role is to facilitate the group and as I said I’m really happy with my backroom team and support team, I’m really happy with this group of players. Like, they’re doing everything they can and I can’t ask any more of them than that.”