Ryan points to Premier work ethic

THE early stages of yesterday’s Munster SHC semi-final were defined by the power and pace of Clare’s hurling as they raced ahead on the scoreboard.

But it was the calm and composed response of Tipperary in the face of that onslaught which proved critical in deciding this game.

The bank of experience that the Premier county have stockpiled in recent seasons proved critical in the eyes of their manager Declan Ryan.

He reasoned: “There is a lot of composure in the group, there is a lot of experience. Even the younger guys, they are winners. They have competed at a very high level for a number of years.

“That and the work ethic that Tommy Dunne and Cian O’Neill have instilled in them, is what paid off today.

“They showed a lot of composure there even though we went down early on. We stuck at it and kept fighting.

“This is why the guys train so hard, for days like today and full credit to them the way they battled out there.

“It was a slippery one for us. Clare have done a lot of great work at underage in recent years and were unlucky not to win a minor last year. They won the U21 the year before and they are obviously a coming force.”

Tipperary’s first-half performance contained plenty imperfections yet the three goals that they plundered courtesy of Eoin Kelly, Patrick Maher and Lar Corbett were key factors in keeping them in contention.

“The performance in the first 20 minutes wouldn’t be what you’d be looking for in a Munster semi-final”, admitted Ryan. “I was delighted with the way we got the couple of goals to keep us in the game and we responded well to the challenge. Our ability to get goals stood to us. It would have been very bleak at half-time only for the goals we got.”

The strength of Tipperary’s panel was shown during the second-half, particularly at the back. Clare’s attack had asked plenty questions of the Tipperary rearguard in the opening-half, which prompted Ryan and his selectors to shuffle their defensive cards at the break. John O’Keeffe and David Young were withdrawn with Paddy Stapleton and Stephen Lillis brought in.

“Any day you play Munster championship your defence are going to be well tested”, stated Ryan. “It will be well tested the next day no doubt but we are delighted the way the defence finished up today.

“They battled very hard in the second half. We have a strong panel. All the guys that are on the panel have trained very hard. The guys that came on got the chance and showed the work they have done has paid off. We are delighted to have options on the bench.”

The jewel in Tipperary’s attacking crown was wing-forward Seamus Callanan. The Drom-Inch man was unable to nail down a starting berth en route to last season’s All-Ireland triumph and that explains the hunger that is evident in his play this year. He struck 0-5 against Cork in the quarter-final and followed that up with a 1-5 haul yesterday.

“He is fresh and has trained very well over the last number of weeks”, revealed Ryan. “He rifled over some nice points again. We have a lot of potential in our forwards from a scoring point of view. We hit a lot of wides there and that is something we have to work on, as well as getting off to a better start the next day.”

The next day will be July 10th when they travel to Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the provincial decider against Waterford.

“Waterford are very experienced. They play a different type of hurling, they play defensive and have goal-scoring ability as well. It’s going to be a huge battle. Waterford are Munster champions but we are looking forward to it.”

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