Philosophical O’Shea unfazed by psychology of a replay

Eamon O'Shea

Tipperary manager Eamon O’Shea isn’t getting hung up on the psychology surrounding next Saturday’s All-Ireland senior hurling final replay.

One of the perceptions doing the rounds is that Tipp have missed the boat.

Peddlers of that theory will point to Tipperary’s haul of 1-28, a host of spurned goal chances and two missed penalties to back it up.

Another one being floated is the argument that Kilkenny have ‘more scope for improvement’, which conveniently ignores the argument that so too do Tipperary.

And so O’Shea will control what he can this week and prepare his charges to go again. The sense that Tipperary somehow ‘won the draw’ is one that he rejects out of hand.

And he insisted: “I’d be concerned if the team felt it, but the team don’t feel it. Let’s be honest here, people didn’t really give us a chance, we’re delighted we got the draw. “We have a really strong belief in ourselves.

“We just see it as another game that’s coming up and it’s a game that has to be won.”

Having lost their three previous championship outings against Kilkenny, some may also feel Tipp crashed through a psychological barrier by gaining a positive result against the Cats.

Again, it’s not something that O’Shea is reading too much into.

He reflected: “You’re playing one of the greatest teams of all time so I don’t think they would think like that. I don’t think like that. I always feel that we have a chance when we play any team.”

“I believe absolutely in the team I have, it’s not relative to anything. I wouldn’t think like that, that Tipp had broken a psychological barrier. When Tipp play we go out to win.”

And that belief has been coursing through the veins of the Tipperary players since September 7.

It was hammered home to them again on a weekend training spin at Carton House, when captain Brendan Maher and Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher came through some good work.

O’Shea will have analysed where his men can improve ahead of the replay.

But he admits to not watching a full re-run of the Croke Park classic.

He revealed: “I don’t think I watched the full game: “I watched bits and pieces of it. Damien Young is really good on the videos, so I don’t tend to watch the games fully, I say to him can you pick out this, that and the other.”

O’Shea saw enough to acknowledge that the 1-28 to 3-22 stalemate was “really good” but without “historical context”, he is wary of categorising it.

He said: “It was a really good match. “I think you have to have historical context, I don’t know if you can be talking about greatest this or greatest that, you have to have historical perspective in everything.

“I haven’t seen all the All-Irelands but it was a fantastic match, no doubt.

“You look at it from the point of view of the management side and see what you can do better. That’s what the focus is on, how you can get a little bit better, you tend not to think about the match as other people see it.”

O’Shea, a Professor of Economics at NUIG, drew upon his vast knowledge in that sphere with a wholly logical assessment of what lies in store.

“No game stays the same, the world never stays the same, every game is going to be different. Even though it will be against the same opposition but there will be different circumstances, different everything.

“The All-Ireland final of 2014 the first day is over. There will be different circumstances and we’ll try to approach it like that.”


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