Eamon O’Shea hits out at hurling finals' replay proposal

O’Shea has voiced his opposition to the proposal of the Central Council workgroup that All-Ireland hurling final replays take place six days after the drawn game.

The Tipperary boss believes the turnaround would prove insufficient in allowing players to adequately recover, calling instead for a two-week window to a replayed fixture.

Speaking after Tipperary’s narrow defeat to Clare in the Waterford Crystal quarter-final, O’Shea has backed the implementation of the entire club season into the calendar year but is against the replay plans.

“Six days is hard,” he said. “I know we lost the replay after three weeks, but six days I imagine would be very hard. Emotionally, it is very tiring to play a game like that. Three weeks is a bit long in my view. Six days is very short, a quick turnaround. Two weeks would probably be about right. I would be in favour of (finishing the club season in the calendar year). I think if we could wrap up everything, it would be good. It is very hard for teams to train over winter. It is a long time waiting. I think we could be playing the county championships a lot smarter, everywhere.”

Tipperary led on only three occasions in this error-ridden encounter and their fate appeared sealed when Clare’s Bobby Duggan, Colin Ryan (free) and Paul Flanagan clipped three points in quick succession to move the home outfit 0-15 to 0-11 clear on 66 minutes.

The visitors rallied through Shane McGrath and a Brendan Maher free, two further efforts from the stick of Maher levelling matters entering the six minutes of additional time signalled by referee Johnny Murphy.

The final whistle sounded four minutes into the allotted six and it was Clare who had secured their place in the penultimate round, a Colin Ryan free proving the crucial score.

Maher was presented with an opportunity to force extra-time from a placed ball, but his strike lacked the distance, dropping into the right hand of goalkeeper Patrick Kelly.

The win was Clare’s first in over nine months, the barren spell stretching back to their March 30 league quarter-final win over Laois.

“These lads are hurt by last year,” said Clare selector Michael Browne. “They aren’t happy with their performances or how the summer panned out. There is a huge determination to make up for that as much as we can.

“It is obvious all around the camp, from the manager all the way down to number 39, that there is an extra determination this year.

“There is a huge commitment to training, a huge focus there. Lads went out and really tried here. These games are worth three weeks of training and so we are delighted to have another outing.”

Facing into the elements in the first period, Clare enjoyed a 0-8 to 0-7 interval lead with Tipperary’s five-man forward unit struggling to make any real inroads against the Banner defence. Lively corner-forward pair Cathal O’Connell and David O’Halloran were among Clare’s opening contributors and the duo, along with Patrick Donnellan, fired over early second-half points to set them on the road to victory.

Brendan Maher’s dead-ball accuracy kept O’Shea’s charges in the hunt, the Borrisoleigh hurler accounting for half the Tipperary tally, but not even the introduction of key figures Kieran Bergin, Shane McGrath and Patrick ’Bonnar’ Maher could swing the verdict in their favour.

Scorers for Clare: C O’Connell (0-4, 0-4 frees); D O’Halloran, Colin Ryan (0-1 free) P Donnellan (0-2 each); Conor Ryan, C Galvin, B Bugler, B Duggan, A Cunningham, P Flanagan (0-1).

Scorers for Tipperary: B Maher (0-7, 0-5 frees); D Maher, S Maher (0-2 each); T Stapleton, D Butler, G Ryan, S McGrath (0-1 each).

CLARE: P Kelly; D O’Donovan, C Duggan, S Morey; G O’Connell, Conor Ryan, C Cleary; C Galvin, B Bugler; P Donnellan, B Duggan, S Golden; C O’Connell, A Cunningham, D O’Halloran.

Subs: J Conlon for Golden (54 mins), Colin Ryan for Galvin (54), P Flanagan for Cleary (56), J Shanahan for Duggan (64).

TIPPERARY: D Egan; J O’Dwyer, P Curran, Stephen Maher; R Maher, C O’Mahony, C O’Brien; T Stapleton, G Ryan; D Maher, B Maher, J Woodlock; D Butler, Sean Maher, C Kenny.

Subs: M Butler for O’Dwyer (HT), K Bergin for Ryan (50 mins), Patrick Maher for Butler (50 mins), S McGrath for D Maher (61).

Referee: J Murphy (Limerick).


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