Goals win games — and when you keep scoring them game after game, you inevitably win All-Irelands, as Tipperary’s senior and U20 teams happily found this year.
Jake Morris was a forward in both setups and admitted it was a sweet summer for the Premier rippling nets and picking up prizes.
The Tipp seniors scored 16 goals in eight games — eight of which were scored by goal-a-game man Seamus Callanan — while the U20s registered a staggering 19 in just four outings.
Morris didn’t score any for the seniors, sniping 0-5 as an impact sub, though he did hit the most important major of the U20 campaign to win the Munster final against Cork, and added another in the eight-goal mauling of Wexford.
He’s not entirely convinced that a culture of goalscoring has emerged in Tipp though, claiming it’s more an organic thing that developed around the individuals involved.
“With Seamie, you’re kind of learning from the best in the business because he probably is the best and certainly the highest goalscorer in the game,” said Morris. “And I think Eamon O’Shea has had a big part to play in that mindset of goals. He’s always drilling it into your mind — goals, goals, goals. He’s an unreal coach, he’s so intelligent.
“The feeling you get from scoring a goal, it’s different to anything else. It’s something Seamie and Eoin Kelly would always be preaching about. As you can see from Seamie, his first thought in his head is: ‘Can I score a goal from this?’ After that, he’ll take the point if he has to.
“So they’re all good lads to learn from, for me and the younger lads coming through. It’s a very important part of the game because if you score enough goals, you’ll win any game. It energises a team and it always steals energy from the other team.”
Liam Cahill was in charge of the Tipp U20s and clearly gave his forwards a licence to go for goal during their successful campaign. They registered three each against Waterford and Cork in Munster before hitting Wexford for eight in the All-Ireland semi-finals and adding another five against Cork in the decider.
It was back to back U21/U20 titles for Tipp under Cahill and Waterford swooped in to hand him their senior job.
Having been criticised for years as a defensive team, reliant on a sweeper, the thought of Cahill possibly giving the Déise players a licence to thrill is an exciting one now.
“Hopefully he doesn’t, not against us anyway,” smiled Morris, cognisant that Tipp travel to play Waterford in the first round of the 2020 Munster Senior Championship.
“No, him and Mikey Bevans are a brilliant manager and coach combo, they work very well together.
“I think they’ll have Waterford in a good place this year. Mikey would be a great coach and he’d always be telling you to take on your man. The team that takes on their men will get more goal chances. Maybe you could see more of that happening down in Waterford, I don’t know.”
Morris’ personal ambition is to play more regularly for the seniors — he’s made 11 championship appearances across 2018 and 2019, starting just twice — and to get among the goals himself.
But getting into that team is no easy thing.
“That’s it, where’s the weak link?” asked Morris.
“There is none. Bonner Maher will be back early February, he’s going to come back as hungry as ever and make it more competitive again. That’s what makes a good team, without that you are at nothing, really. And we have it in Tipp, it’s an important factor for a good team.”
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