BABS KEATING has defended his criticism of Liam Sheedy this season and claimed the current Tipperary management has benefited from his controversial second stint in charge of the county seniors.
Keating, who managed the Munster county to All-Ireland successes in 1989 and 1991, returned to the post in 2005 when the side fell to consecutive All-Ireland quarter-final exits and clashed with luminaries such as Eoin Kelly and Brendan Cummins.
An outspoken critic of Sheedy this term, Keating hit out at the Portroe man on the eve of the All-Ireland final – when he voiced displeasure at what he termed his successor’s ‘Riverdancing’ along the sideline during games.
While thrilled with Tipperary’s success, he was far from apologetic when interviewed by Ivan Yates on Newstalk’s Breakfast Show yesterday morning, although he did congratulate the “whole set-up” for their famous win. Keating said: “There was a book written by (former Wexford hurler) Martin Codd and it was entitled ‘The Way I Saw It’. If I am on to you or any other national station or writing for a paper I will tell it the way I saw it.
“Maybe I passed a few comments about Liam Sheedy and the management structure based on what I went through in Tipperary and I made difficult decisions which might have helped Liam Sheedy in the success we had.
“When I took over Tipperary five years ago and I was interviewed for the job, 95% of the interview was devoted to discipline and that was something that I hadn’t been aware of – the problems that Ken Hogan and Michael Doyle had. I dealt with that and I think Liam Sheedy might have got some benefit from the decisions that John Leahy, Tom Barry and myself took. We took those decisions in the interests of the people who paid their money to go to Croke Park (on Sunday).”
Sunday’s win continued Tipperary’s unique achievement of having won an All-Ireland (in either code) in every decade since the GAA’s foundation and Keating stated his belief that it dwarfed his own managerial victories and that of Nicky English back in 2001.
“It probably compares up there if not ahead of those wins in so far as thateveryone feared Kilkenny and their dominance. This was a great watermark for the game of hurling.”
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