By Peter McNamara
This morning it was announced Paul Curran would accept Eamon O’Shea’s invitation to join up with his backroom team as Tipperary ratchet up their Championship preparations.
Retaining Curran’s experience and services represents a massively positive move by the Premier County management team.
Eamon O'Shea's high-quality man-management techniques benefit Tipperary.
Tipperary are considered by many to be the most likely All-Ireland champions this year and O’Shea’s storied man-management skills could be the key element that sets them apart in the summer.
His handling of Curran, alongside assistant boss Michael Ryan, is yet another example of how O’Shea’s personal qualities benefit Tipperary.
After all, how often does a player who has just been culled from a squad be enticed to remain involved in the background? Of course, time was running out on Curran’s inter-county career but still, it is a measure of the men involved that a petty personal impasse did not develop instead.
Yes, it is O’Shea’s third season in charge and there will be those bound to argue such positive managerial traits have not exactly yielded a tangible dividend quite yet in terms of silverware.
However, the provincial Championship and All-Ireland Series in 2015 should be far more productive for O’Shea and Tipperary in that regard.
In fact, I strongly believe O’Shea’s side will be crowned champions of both competitions in the months ahead with both Seamus Callanan and Pádraic Maher producing memorable Championship campaigns, and not for the first time obviously.
Is Seamus Callanan on the verge of another outstanding championship?
Furthermore, and as an extension of that theory, both of those operators may be found on the GAA/GPA Hurler of the Year shortlist by season’s end.
O’Shea has everything in place presently to get the very best out of the group he has assembled for the primary competition.
In his autobiography 'All in my head' Lar Corbett illustrated how effective O’Shea is at instilling a deep-rooted belief in players’ capabilities, especially those that are not entirely self-assured.
Certainly, Corbett benefited hugely from O’Shea’s man-management and it seems Callanan is currently in a similar boat to that of the former attacker in 2010, the year in which he was voted as the seasonal MVP.
Callanan always possessed the crafty stick-work and power to soar at senior inter-county level but his inconsistent performances betrayed his qualities too often in the past.
Nevertheless, since O’Shea has been at the helm Callanan’s confidence levels have sky-rocketed and the Drom & Inch forward is now one of, if not the, most potent inside forward in the code.
Paul Curran's defensive expertise could be a massive plus for the Premier County.
Drafting in the defensive expertise of Curran may also draw a further five per cent from those that will be patrolling Tipperary’s full- and half-back lines in the championship.
The aforementioned Ryan stated Curran “commands respect” and the fact he has first-hand experience of how the game is played presently his thinking and ideas will not be outdated in any way which could be the case within other management set-ups whose age profile is generally that of an older generation.
Internally, as is true of most counties, O’Shea is sure to have his detractors.
At the end of the day not everybody is going to be everybody else’s cup of tea.
Yet, those tasked with earning success for Tipperary between now and September can withstand the ‘pressure’ placed upon them by their own whose patience is getting thinner on the ground as the seasons roll by.
When it comes to the folk of the Premier, a county expects and such aspirations among their supporters have not been realised in recent years.
Due to the fact Tipperary have flattered to deceive in times gone by when much was anticipated as they entered the championship arena people are understandably going to be sceptical but the strength in depth at O’Shea’s disposal now is also frightening.
Sport is, obviously, far from being even close to an exact science but it truly seems as if Tipperary tick all of the prerequisite boxes for success to follow with the Championship looming.
Clare and Limerick are the first of the main title hopefuls to show their hand on Sunday in Thurles, but Tipperary are the team they all have to topple provincially and nationally in this particular campaign.