County secretary Tim Floyd has insisted Tipperary are good enough to win the Munster and All-Ireland senior hurling titles in 2014 — but only if levels of discipline, work-rate and intensity improve considerably.
A disappointing 2013 campaign saw Tipperary lose their two championship matches (against Limerick and Kilkenny) and they bowed out in mid-July.
Floyd, writing in his report to Premier County annual convention, has backed manager Eamon O’Shea to revive the glory days of 2010.
But he warned that Tipperary are now lagging well behind All-Ireland champions Clare, who have “raised the bar to a new level of class, pace, athleticism and power.”
Floyd has challenged Tipperary to step up to the plate next year and insists success can be achieved quickly.
Floyd writes: “Tipperary need not look too far to re-discover the flair that made us champions in 2010. Eamon O’Shea believes in creativity and expression and marrying these elements with massive physicality and work rate is normal to any system. Work rate is as much about turnovers as about scoring. All teams now have analysts on the line taking notes on hooks, blocks, winning puck-outs but most importantly, on turnovers. All the aforementioned are about work rate.”
Floyd noted that in the 2010 All-Ireland final Tipperary made 15 turnovers to Kilkenny’s 12 but when the counties met again in the 2011 decider, Floyd reports that “Kilkenny made 18 turnovers to our paltry three.”
He added: “Clare also depend on winning breaks and forcing turnovers, but their young enthusiastic team has work rate to execute this.
“Tipperary must develop this intensity and work rate if we are to succeed and it must be consistent in every game. We must only select players who have the discipline, commitment and loyalty to see it through from start to finish. I believe we have the players to fulfil this mission and I also believe we have the management to lead it.”
Floyd added that Cork and Clare’s march to an All-Ireland final flies in the face of claims that heavy early-season training loads can lead to burnout.
Reflecting on “embarrassing” defeats against both All-Ireland finalists in February (Clare in the Waterford Crystal Cup and Cork in the National League), Floyd says: “It’s interesting to note these two teams ended up in the All-Ireland final. This defies burnout claims and confirms the need for heavy training during pre and early season.”
Meanwhile, Tipperary county board officials are on course to reveal a surplus for the 2013 financial year – following four years of losses totalling over €650,000.
According to Floyd, gate receipts have soared by €140,000 following four years of downward trends.
The introduction of a €25 charge on all county board match passes generated an additional €18,000 and over €100,000 was raised from other fundraising activities.
Contesting the Division 1 Allianz National Hurling league final against Kilkenny provided an extra €26,000 and it is anticipated that intercounty team expenses will drop by at least €250,000 this year.
Floyd also revealed a huge emigration problem affecting Tipperary clubs over the past five years with approximately 640 players leaving the county.
Only 40% of that figure continued to play abroad while around one-fifth have returned to Ireland and most have resumed with their clubs.
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