Callanan was speaking at the launch of the Kellogg’s Cúl Camps for 2017 which included a question and answer session with comedian Patrick Kielty in front of a packed suite at Croke Park.
Kielty joked that Tipperary’s sporadic All-Ireland title wins — last September’s success was their first since 2010 — can be attributed to players hitting the drink for “eight years” afterwards.
Callanan engaged in the banter by smiling and retorting that it was an enjoyable eight years. Speaking with reporters afterwards, he wholeheartedly disagreed with the suggestion, which, he acknowledged, is often put to him.
Tipperary are gearing up for Sunday’s Allianz League semi-final tie with Wexford and, beyond that, are favourites to win the All-Ireland and retain the MacCarthy Cup for the first time since 1965.
“In every media interview it is a question that is asked so it is obviously a perception amongst the media but, personally, as someone that was involved in the panel (in 2010), I fully disagree with that,” said Callanan.
“Look, we lost to Kilkenny (in 2011), there is no shame in losing to that Kilkenny team over those years. They were a very, very hard team to beat. That happened and it wasn’t down to preparation or anything like that. We have a massively committed bunch and anything else you hear outside of that is untrue.”
Callanan said he is fully focused on the task of beating in-form Wexford on Sunday as he and Darren Gleeson are the only panellists with league medals, from 2008.
The bigger picture, of course, is that players like Callanan are furiously targeting a successful defence of their All-Ireland crown this summer.
“That’s no doubt it would be a huge achievement,” said the prolific attacker. “But it’s a long way from where we are right now at the start of April. It’s not for us to be thinking about. We’re not there and there’s a very long way to get there.
“The next step is a league game and that’s what’s important to us right now. We can’t feel pressure to win championship games until we’re there, we can’t have any sort of emotion towards that because we’re playing in the now and Wexford is in the now and that’s where our sights are.”
Callanan hit 0-13, including nine points from open play, in last year’s All-Ireland final win over Kilkenny and was part of a full-forward line that hit a staggering 2-21 in total.
Few commentators have been able to look beyond that remarkable show of potency when assessing this year’s likely All-Ireland winners, pencilling in Tipperary as the strong favourites.
Callanan smiled at that assertion and noted the number of times that Kilkenny, who conjured a draw with Tipperary in the league recently, have broken his county’s spirit over the years in huge championship encounters.
“If anyone had any doubts about Kilkenny, we certainly don’t have,” said the Drom-Inch man. “They’re firmly still the team to beat in our eyes. If anyone in the country had any doubts about that before they came to Thurles to play us in the league, that performance really should have extinguished any doubts that were there.
“Kilkenny are a fantastic team and if you think for one second that they’re gone anywhere you’re just going to get sucker-punched.
“We know the character of the players in Kilkenny and they still have a massive team and a fantastic panel, and they still have Brian Cody at the helm. They’re going to be dangerous animals throughout the year.”
It remains to be seen if Wexford are genuine All-Ireland contenders too. Davy Fitzgerald has helped the county turn the corner on an indifferent decade or so, gaining promotion to Division 1A of the Allianz League after just four games.
They beat Kilkenny in the quarter-finals, a shock result at Nowlan Park, and will return to Kilkenny City on Sunday with designs on repeating the win at Tipperary’s expense.
“It’s brilliant, another team thrown into the mix for the championship, it makes for a great summer of hurling,” said Callanan. “I was down at Limerick IT when Davy was managing. I know what he’s going to bring to any party; a lot of honesty, a lot of hard work, a determined and fit team. He has a lot of great players down in Wexford at his disposal as well so this is a massive challenge for us.
“I’ve watched them play a few games and they obviously won against Kilkenny, which was pretty impressive, so it’s going to be a massively competitive game.”