There is no cause for alarm in Tipperary’s mixed Allianz league campaign thus far, says Shane McGrath.
The All-Ireland champions need only a draw on Sunday in Galway to qualify for the knock-out stages.
But they have conceded 6-70 in four games, the highest goal concession rate of the five Munster teams and third highest among the 10 Liam MacCarthy Cup counties.
Last Sunday’s home win over Waterford was also a chore, but
McGrath believes there are no major worries.
“Tipperary weren’t hammered in either of their two defeats. If they had, you might be concerned. I actually think they’re coming into Sunday’s game in a really good place.
“I think Storm Dennis might turn out to be a blessing in disguise for them as if they had to go to Galway and lost it would have been three defeats in a row and a League campaign all but over.
“Now things are looking different and there’ll be a good buzz at training.
“The Waterford game was a crazy game for all the wrong reasons but the players that were left on the field worked phenomenally hard.
“Lads are starting to come back training. Bonner Maher mightn’t be back fully but he’s around the place more and he will give them a lift. Noel McGrath is back now and still to come back is Dan [McCormack] and Brendan [Maher].
“Seamie [Callanan] isn’t firing on all cylinders just yet but the evenings are getting longer and this week you probably saw young fellas being able to stay out and puck a ball. That all feeds into training and you know the Championship is not too far away.”
Tipperary’s opening Munster SHC clash with Waterford is just over nine weeks away and the gap will be six should the county manage to get to a final. Winning a first League title in 12 years would boost the panel before they try defend the Liam MacCarthy Cup, McGrath says.
“When we won the League in 08 the confidence rose hugely because we hadn’t won anything in a long time. I know from a selfish point of view the likes of Paudie Maher, Brendan, Bonner, the Class of 92 don’t have a League medal and when they look back on their collections they’d like to have it there with their Munsters, All-Irelands, and All-Stars.
“You want to look back and say you won it all, but they are just five or six guys in the panel. You’d still want to be playing competitive inter-county games up until the end of March. From a player point of view, you really don’t want another nine weeks of the difficult physical training.”
Meanwhile, John Kiely has named seven changes from the team that beat Westmeath for Saturday’s Waterford clash. Nickie Quaid returns to goal with Cian Lynch to midfield and Aaron Gillane in the full-forward line.
LIMERICK (AHL v Waterford): N. Quaid; B. Nash, M. Casey, A. Costello; D. Byrnes, D. Hannon, D. Morrissey; C. Lynch, K. Hayes; G. Hegarty, D. Reidy, C. Boylan; A. Gillane, S. Flanagan, G. Mulcahy. Subs: B. Hennessy, D. Dempsey, S. Finn, R. Hanley, T. Morrissey, D. O’Connell, W. O’Donoghue, B. O’Grady, P. O’Loughlin, M. Quinlan, B. Ryan.