It never goes your way the whole time.
Eamon O’Shea is at pains to point out that even when you win you never dominate from start to finish, and the Tipperary manager can offer evidence.
“I go back to 2008, I remember a Munster final against Clare and being on the sideline and thinking, ‘these fellas are coming back at us’.
“When you’ve lost dominance in a game it’s always a concern afterwards, wondering why and what happened. The third quarter is an important quarter, you always look and see what’s happening here but it’s not something that’s novel to us. You’re never going to get a game when you’re 100% on. If you are, you have a fabulous team and I don’t think any of the teams in the championship has dominated for 100% and that includes the favourites.”
Tipp face Waterford in the Munster final on Sunday, but many observers have installed the Premier and Kilkenny as favourites for September.
Unsurprisingly, O’Shea dismisses such talk.
“Lads wouldn’t be listening to that. The public have a view — the public are wrong. There are five or six teams very competitive here.
“We’re coming up against a team that’s unbeaten and that’s a formidable challenge. That’s all we’re concentrating on. I wouldn’t know much going on in the Leinster championship. I wouldn’t be concerned about it, to be honest with you. It’s none of my business now — I’m just concerned about the match.”
Can concern encompass enjoyment?
“Of course you enjoy it. You enjoy the game, you’re working hard during the game. What’s enjoy? Enjoy the training, the matchdays you’re working hard. Still enjoy it. Try to do your work on the day.” The Tipp man doesn’t see Semple Stadium, Sunday’s venue, as a significant factor: “We played Limerick in Limerick — the venue doesn’t really bother me. I never mind taking these boys anywhere, I wouldn’t care where they had the game. We haven’t trained that much in Semple this year, it’s been out of bounds for us.
“From our point of view, the venue doesn’t really matter. It was brilliant going to the Gaelic Grounds. Sometimes you can over-egg it but it’s a great venue, Thurles. It’s probably like Croke Park now in terms of how teams approach it.
“I don’t think it’s a huge advantage for any team.”
What’s been an advantage for Waterford this year has been their structure, but the opposition aren’t the only factor to be considered, says the manager. There are the conditions. The style you want from your own team.
“We played against a couple of counties with sweeper systems,” says O’Shea.
“Some counties use it, some don’t. You’ve got to remember the pace of the game is much different as you get on, it’s not always the same conditions. You never play the same conditions pitch wise, ball wise or environment wise. It’s difficult to say what you learn.
“(Waterford have) loads of energy and loads of skill. Their hurley passing is really impressive as well. They’re formidable. When you win, you look like the most prepared team in the world. You have to be conscious of the opposition but you have to be most conscious of yourself.
“I think it’s more conscious of playing the game we want to play. You’d be aware of the strengths of all teams but it’s more the way we want to play ourselves.”
They showed flashes of their 2010 All-Ireland form against Limerick.
“Yeah, you’re hoping every time you go out that it opens up a bit for you. I suppose the most pleasing aspect was the level of energy we had in the game, in terms of our work was good, stuff like that. From that, it was pleasing.”
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