Liam Sheedy's return to Tipperary hot-seat could ignite the Premier

Liam Sheedy during the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final of Kilkenny v Tipperary in 2010. Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Chairman John Devane and the Tipperary County Board have made the right move in opting to draft Liam Sheedy back into the mix as the manager of the Premier’s senior outfit.

Ratified on Monday night, Sheedy was given a three-year term and this will reinvigorate the players. Sheedy will have massive respect among those of the men that were there throughout Sheedy’s previous time at the helm.

It was suggested over the weekend that Sheedy will look to Eamon O’Shea again to join his managerial ticket and that would be a serious coup once more for the now former Sunday Game pundit.

However, you would assume Sheedy will also look to really fresh voices with or without O’Shea.

The county board will ratify his backroom team in October and composition of that selection team could determine whether or not Tipp challenge for the All-Ireland title in 2019.

Would somebody like Eoin Kelly be an option for Sheedy? After all, can you ever have enough legends in a backroom team?

Liam Sheedy said: “I am taking up the role with a huge sense of excitement and enthusiasm, mostly at the thought of getting back into the dressing-room and out on the field with Tipperary’s best.

“I come on board again just two years after Michael Ryan led Tipperary to a superb All-Ireland title. He has handed over an incredibly talented squad that I look forward to finalising over the coming weeks and months and getting Tipperary ready for 2019.”

If Sheedy does get tactically astute O’Shea on-side, complementing that move with the further addition of Kelly among his managerial unit would be a brilliant move.

Kelly would represent one of those fresh voices that could communicate efficiently with the younger players.

Donncha O’Connor may have retired from the inter-county scene, but the Ballydesmond man, down the line, would have plenty to offer Cork in the role of a selector if he wished to get involved.

Donncha O’Connor in action for Cork in 2015.
Donncha O’Connor in action for Cork in 2015.

Over the years, O’Connor’s footballing brain and passion have ensured he has always stood above many others in terms of the contributions he has made, and could make, to the code in the county.

And he seems the type that could excel on the sidelines as well.

However, as he showed last Saturday evening, his playing capabilities are far from diminished yet as he hit 0-6 including two frees for Duhallow in the Cork SFC quarter-final.

Duhallow manager Padraig Kearns said of captain Donncha O’Connor in last Monday’s Irish Examiner: “Donncha is Donncha. He had a bad game the last day against St Nick’s, but he stood up tonight and was counted when the pressure came on.

“He was the man - went back, steadied the ship and ran the show. What can you say about him? He’s Mr Football - he loves his football, he’s on the border and that’s how he was brought up in Ballydesmond, where the passion for football is unreal. It’s all about football back there.”

Mr Football, indeed. O’Connor’s marvellous consistency as a club and inter-county player in the last few years has been one of the few highlights within Cork football.

He owes the code in the county absolutely nothing whatsoever. Yet, what a wonderful addition he would be to the U21 or senior management teams, or both, in time.

That is, obviously, if he was interested in such a position in the future.

Nevertheless, given his deep-rooted love of the sport, it would be a shock if he was to stay away from the inter-county landscape for long.

Switching from one Donncha to another, Donnchadh Walsh, of course, announced his retirement from the inter-county grade.

Donnchadh Walsh
Donnchadh Walsh

“My club, Réalt na Mara, An Cromán, have supported me to the hilt on the entirety of this journey,” said Walsh in a statement. “There is no greater feeling than representing your own people and I hope I’ve done so with heart, dignity and determination.

“Although a small club we have managed to produce two inter-county footballers for Kerry over the last 15 years, something we take great pride in.

“On my league debut for Kerry, back in March 2003, when Páidí Ó Sé gave me my first taste of senior Kerry football, Seán O’Sullivan and I made up two-thirds of the half-forward line.

“To have two men from the club line-out for Kerry was a great honour for Cromane and a testament to our club’s officials and coaches.

To all the members of Cromane GAA Club: thank you so much for nurturing and encouraging me.

“While it’s the end of an era retiring from Kerry, it’s something of a rebirth for me with the club.

“I was reared about 10 metres from Cromane GAA pitch and it has been close to my heart since I could raise my foot and kick a ball.

“I look forward to kicking many more balls there in the years to come.”

Walsh only has one All-Star to his name, for his contributions to the 2015 season with Kerry.

However, at his peak, and that was the case for a sustained period when injury-free, Walsh was probably the very best in the business at linking play from defence to attack.

I have rarely witnessed a player with as much as energy as Walsh.

Too many people these days appreciate the flair players too much. Walsh, though, despite being a player without the frills, was an exceptional operator.

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