Len Gaynor warns near misses frustrating Tipp hurlers

Tipperary must win Sunday’s Munster SHC final to put to bed their recent collection of near-misses on summer’s biggest afternoons, according to Len Gaynor.

Len Gaynor warns near misses frustrating Tipp hurlers

Championship silverware has eluded the county since Eamon O’Shea took charge at the end of 2012 and former Tipp hurler Gaynor reckons the litany of narrow defeats has been source of deep frustration for the squad.

“Tipperary need to get a bit of silverware on the sideboard,” said the three-time All-Ireland medallist.

“We are inclined to look on the All-Ireland as the thing, which ultimately it is, but to win your provincial championship is a huge honour.

“Tipperary have been very close to league and championship silverware over the past two years, so very near. And still they haven’t won. That can be frustrating. I am sure that is boiling up inside the players to try and win something. To start with a Munster championship would be great. It gives confidence as well to be able to say you have beaten all in Munster.”

Indeed, Gaynor believes Tipperary’s All-Ireland ambitions hinge on overcoming Waterford this weekend.

“The direct route is the best route for Tipperary at present. It mightn’t do much harm to Waterford to go through the backdoor because they are still learning. Tipperary need to take the shorter route and try and get to the final as easily as they can.

“A lot of the Tipperary players have been on the go since 2010, and, indeed, a year or two before that. They are not that young any more. Going back into the quarter-finals wouldn’t be enticing from a Tipperary perspective. You wouldn’t be looking forward to it after losing a Munster final.”

Gaynor says Derek McGrath made the correct decision in awarding Tipperary home advantage, but doesn’t buy into the hype surrounding the counter-attacking system of play engaged in by Waterford.

“The Waterford structure isn’t that complicated. They bring back an extra man into centre-field and they crowd midfield as much as they can, with their half-forwards withdrawing also. It is not that hard to dismantle really.

“It is all about winning the ball. You cannot put any plan into operation unless you have the ball. Tipperary need to focus on themselves, focus on securing primary possession and not worry about what the opposition do or might do.”

He added: “You could say about Waterford that this Munster final doesn’t matter to them because they will come in a couple of years time anyway, but they could also come next Sunday.

“I expect, however, that Tipperary will be burning on Sunday to win and I think they will win.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up