Former Tipperary defender Declan Fanning has warned that Kilkenny’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final hammering of the Premier County will leave deep psychological scars.
Fanning, right half-back on Tipp’s 2010 All-Ireland winning team, believes it will take “a lot mentally” for the players to recover from the 18-point mauling.
Fanning, 33, was in the Tipperary dressing room at half-time as he was part of the extended backroom team for the trip to Croke Park.
And he admitted that he could not see the second-half annihilation coming, as Kilkenny blitzed Tipp with 3-15 after the interval.
Fanning told the Extra Time show on Tipp FM: “You certainly couldn’t see it at half-time. Being on the line looking in, we fell five points down in the first half and then hit 1-3 without reply. You’d be delighted going in and (at half-time) without really being dominant in the first half.
“We felt we were in a good position. There was a great atmosphere in the dressing room,people were speaking and we werefocused going out. Even 10 minutes into the second half, we were only two or three points down but once the two goals went in, slowly but surely the heads dropped.
“Space started to open up and you’d feel sorry for the full-back line — there was a lot of space in the last 20 minutes.”
Fanning was also asked to comment on Tipperary’s controversial tactics during the game — and specifically on Lar Corbett’s role.
He replied: “If you look back to last year’s All-Ireland, Jackie (Tyrrell) was doing so well on Lar. I suppose maybe the thinking was that they (management) had to try something. Look, we went in at half-time a point up.
“If we’d to draw the second half, we’d have won by a point.
“Maybe they thought, even though Lar wasn’t getting on the ball, Tommy (Walsh) wasn’t doing a lot, or Jackie. There were four players not doing a lot (including Pa Bourke) and we were still a point up.”
In the second half, Tipp were simply routed as Kilkenny upped the ante and obliterated the Munster champions.
And Fanning admitted: “It’s a heavy defeat and it’s going to take a lot mentally to come back from. A lot of the players, especially the boys that were there for a while, felt that we were over Kilkenny and getting bad beatings. We got a few in the league three or four years ago but we felt the team had gone past that stage. But now we’re mentally back there again.”
And Fanning accepted that Tipperary have “failed” in their attempts to replicate the sky-high levels of 2010, when Kilkenny were defeated by eight points in the All-Ireland final. The Killenaule clubman reflected: “If you look back to the start of last year, in the Munster championship, they were certainly moving very well. But when we really wanted to see it again against a Kilkenny team, it didn’t happen. This year, without being brilliant in any game, we won a Munster championship. I hate to say it, but we failed again when we met Kilkenny.
“I still believe the players are there. There’s a good, good nucleus of a team to produce when championship games are there. It’s just to get it out of them.”
Fanning added: “At half-time, the players were well aware they were ahead, but not playing well. They had decided they were going to go out for 35 minutes and leave everything on the field. The talk in the dressing room was about how hard they had trained for seven or eight months. They knew there was a battle ahead but it’s one thing talking about it. Ultimately, they failed to live up to that.”
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