Eamon O’Shea knows Tipperary as a county well enough to realise that there is very little in the way of middle ground to be found when it comes to their hurling team.
When they are good they are good enough to walk on water.
But when they are bad, well, watch the shrapnel fly.
So it always seems.
This win, comfortable though it was, doesn’t change his desire for a more balanced view.
Eight weeks on from that Munster semi-final loss to Limerick for which he and his team were heavily criticised, he made the case that the scales had not swung substantially one way or another despite wins over Galway, Offaly and now Dublin.
“We are going in with a little bit of confidence,” he said of the semi-final to come. “I wouldn’t call this win ‘going in with momentum’.
“That’s how I would assess it. It’s a win but certainly we would have to go back to the training pitch and figure out why we weren’t moving the ball quicker.
“I’d also ask you to reassess the last 12 weeks since the Galway game in Pearse Stadium. We have played eight times, we have won six, drew a league final where we probably should have won it and lost in extra-time.
“And we lost the game against Limerick in the last minute. So, I just think there needs to be some reassessment of that from commentators.”
One particular criticism of Tipperary has concentrated on a defence which was accused of a lack of cohesiveness.
One in which players’ best positions were adhered to. O’Shea fed into that here, playing familiar faces in less familiar slots from the off.
“We don’t have any set ideas on the full-back at the moment or the way we align our players. I know people have a fascination with who is number three and who is number six, particularly (the press), but we don’t have the same fascination.
“We have players who can play there and players coming back, hopefully, as well. Conor (O’Brien) was on the 26, and Paul (Curran) is chomping at the bit. We hope to have options, but it wasn’t match-ups so much as the way we wanted to play.”
The concession of no goals and just eight points from play left O’Shea speaking from solid ground and he predicted that injury absentee Michael Cahill should be another defensive option for the All-Ireland semi-final with Cork next month.
A first between them at HQ.
“Yeah, we get a trip to Dublin. It’s brilliant. The lads are really looking forward to it. They have real intent, our team. I wouldn’t write us off.”
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