Tipperary’s championship involvement was brought to an end by Galway in last Sunday’s 45-score semi-final epic, adding to the long list of thrilling encounters which the county’s hurlers have come out the wrong side of in recent years.
O’Donoghue, a three-time All-Ireland medal-winner with Tipperary in the mid-60s and early 70s, questioned the players’ mental fortitude.
“There is something in our psyche at present that is not right,” said the former Tipperary goalkeeper and All-Ireland winning selector.
“If you take last Sunday, we got a goal straight away and yet Galway went back up and got a point, got a second point then which nullifies your goal. The same thing happened after the second and third goals. That is the time you should be pushing on, that you must push on.
“It is with this team more than other teams the fact there is something missing. There is something wrong somewhere that we can’t close out these tight matches and get over the line.
“Most of the players are there long enough and some of them have won All-Irelands, but I just wonder do they know that it takes a colossal effort to win an All-Ireland. I don’t know do they realise it takes a big, a huge effort. I am not saying they haven’t been training very hard or doing things right, but it may well be a mental thing.”
O’Donoghue was hugely disappointed by their performance at GAA headquarters last Sunday and said the team is two “physical” forwards and two midfielders shy of landing Liam MacCarthy.
“I felt our forwards weren’t good enough on Sunday. The statistics don’t lie. Five forwards to score five points in a whole match, you can’t win like that.
“We didn’t play nearly as well this year as we did last year. Maybe, as well as that, Galway wanted it more than we did. That is what it looked like from sitting in the stand. Also, I think we weren’t able to manage the physicality of Galway.
“The mood this week in the county is of huge disappointment. You’d be disappointed with the defeat, but you’d be more disappointed with the manner of the defeat and the way the lads didn’t do themselves justice.
“That team isn’t good enough. I would think in the next couple of years there will be a team good enough. We need more strength in the forwards, we need more ball-winners in the forward line. Even with Noel McGrath back in full health, we are still a forward or two short. We need strong, physical forwards. We need two centre-fielders as well.”
O’Donoghue was present at the book launch of ‘The Boy Wonder of Hurling, the story of Jimmy Doyle’ at the Thurles Sarsfields social centre last night. The biography of the recently deceased Tipperary legend is written by former Irish Examiner journalist Diarmuid O’Flynn and edited by Michael Dundon.