Kieran bergin: Bitter experience means Tipperary won’t get carried away this time

Kieran Bergin admits Tipperary have a history of reading too much into their successes but insists this year will be different.

The wing-back says there has been too much heartache for the team to get distracted after claiming their first Munster title in three years on Sunday.

“Anybody who knows us in Tipperary knows we tend to get carried away a little bit. We’re just going to try and stay grounded this year. The backroom staff we have will keep us seriously focused on the overall goal.

“We didn’t sit down in October and say we would be happy with (winning) Munster. We want the Liam MacCarthy and the Tipp fans deserve it. We’ll get down now and focus on whoever we play in five weeks time.”

Speaking in Monday’s newspaper, Bergin highlighted how much the players want to go all the way this year for Eamon O’Shea after the criticism he received.

Attending yesterday’s All-Ireland SHC series launch in Kilkenny’s Dicksboro GAA club, he elaborated on what the manager had to ship.

“From the media, he did take an awful rap and he absorbed every bit of it. Even last year when we were going terribly during the league and a relegation battle was possible, he took everything.

“We were trying to implement a system at the time, a belief in ourselves, but not once did he come in and say ‘lads, we need to do this...’ He just said ‘stick with the plan and stay going’.

“That confidence he showed in our ability inspired us.

“He’s a great man. Eamon just wants what is best for you outside of hurling as well. He wants to bring out the best in you. He’s a really good person.

“We don’t want him coming into dressing rooms now saying ‘well done’ and having a meeting the next day and saying ‘where did we go wrong’ this, that and the other. We’re all sick of those meetings.”

Bergin was delighted for Noel McGrath who warmed up with the rest of the players prior to Sunday’s Munster final although he was not part of the match-day group.

McGrath was diagnosed with testicular cancer in April and marked his return to action with his club Loughmore-Castleiney last week. However, Bergin revealed McGrath had hoped to be back in contention for a spot by now.

“I think he’s frustrated with himself. He thought he would have been back. I spoke to him a few months ago after he done the chemo and he thought he would be back for the Munster final. He’s training with us but not at the same level. He’s slowly building it up with the help of the physios and the physical trainer. He’ll come back stronger than ever.”

Bergin felt McGrath would have thrived against Waterford on Sunday.

“Noel is a massive loss out around the middle of the field because he would have been a brilliant player to have there because he can pop it (over). I took a shot there in the second half which was wide as the corner flag but if that ball had fell to Noel he would have probably put it between the sticks.”

Meanwhile, Bergin reports Pádraic Maher will face a battle to be fit in time for their All-Ireland semi-final on August 16. Maher injured his shoulder when he was fouled by Michael Walsh in the first half in Thurles.

“He was in a sling Sunday night and yesterday (Monday),” said Bergin. “I think it’s something to do with his AC joint, I’m not sure. I think it’s three weeks definitely. It all really depends on the scan.

“He’s been a key player for us. He’s like a Dyson hoover there, he mops up so much ball. Without him, we would be in a bit of trouble and it would probably mean my workload would have to increase!”

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