Tipperary hurling boss Liam Sheedy has paid tribute to two-time All-Ireland winning defender James Barry, who announced his retirement yesterday.
“A consistently high performer ever since he first pulled on the Tipperary jersey and a key player on many teams,” Sheedy said. “A player of tremendous ability, James excelled in all he did and showed great leadership within the panel.
“He departs on a high following his contribution to this year’s All-Ireland triumph and I wish him every success now and for the future.”
Barry made a brief appearance as a blood sub in this year’s All-Ireland final win over Kilkenny, having lost his place after Tipperary’s Munster final defeat by Limerick.
Having come onto the Tipp panel in 2012, he won his first senior medal in 2016, when he also claimed an All-Star.
The Upperchurch-Drombane clubman also won two Munster titles.
In a statement released via the Tipperary County Board, Barry said: “The last seven years have been an unbelievable experience for me and I will always cherish the time I got to wear the blue and gold of Tipperary at the highest possible level.
“I have had the time of my life, lived my childhood dream, and have memories that will stay with me forever.
“I have had the privilege of playing with and against some of the greatest sportsmen of our time and the friendships I have made over the last seven years is something I will always treasure.”
Barry is the second defender to depart the Tipp panel, after Donagh Maher also stepped away this month.
Sheedy has, however, indicated he will carry on in the Premier hot-seat.
And speaking at last night’s Gaelic Writers’ Association awards, where he was named Hurling Personality of the Year, long-serving Tipp defender Brendan Maher said that news came as a significant boost to the panel.
“It is huge to have Liam back for next year, it’s great for the county. He’s an inspirational man, his record speaks for itself, and we are lucky to have him in Tipperary.
“After 2010 it came as a huge shock when he stepped down, so this time around it was good to be hearing the news you wanted and that he was staying on.
“It’s a real positive for us.”
But Maher played down the idea that Tipp will be driven by achieving back-to-back titles, a feat that has proved elusive in the county since 1965.
“I don’t think it will be the focus. The championship now is so competitive that you really can’t afford to be looking down the road.
“It’s a cliché but you really have to take it game by game, because if you don’t you’ll end up spending a lot of the summer staring up at the ceiling wondering how you were knocked out so early, which happened us in 2018.
“So it’s all about going out and trying to be better next year than you were this year.
“Nobody deserves anything, you have to go out and earn it.”