Seamus Callanan has moved to debunk the myth Tipperary were their own worst enemies in 2011 when they failed to retain the All-Ireland hurling title.
The theory has been peddled since Tipp’s final win over Kilkenny in September, the county’s first title success since 2010, that the players may have taken success for granted in 2011 and must make sure not to repeat the mistake now.
Attacker Callanan, part of the 2010 and 2016 wins, isn’t convinced about that suggestion though and rejected talk the players were in any way complacent six years ago, pointing out that eventual winners Kilkenny were simply so good.
“You have to take into consideration that in 2011 it was Kilkenny that won the All-Ireland, it’s no mean feat to have them winning it,” said Callanan.
“I don’t think we did anything wrong after 2010. We have a group now that’s up to the age, is around long enough and has seen both sides of it - the winning and the losing. Obviously you want to be on the winning side always. We have a mature group that will push each other.”
Likewise, Callanan isn’t overly concerned history is against Tipp who haven’t won back to back All-Irelands since 1965.
“That’s just the history books, we just concentrate on trying to get the best out of ourselves every year,” said the three-in-a-row Hurler of the Year nominee. “None of that outside stuff would faze you. Every county wants the same result at the end of the year, whether it’s a double or a treble, whatever. You start the year wanting to win the All-Ireland.”
Tipp’s Allianz League Division 1A campaign begins on Saturday evening with a return to Croke Park to face Dublin.
It’s a repeat of the opening round 12 months ago which Tipp won by 14 points, setting themselves up for the thrilling year that followed. “We’re really hungry for the game against Dublin,” said the Drom and Inch man. “Getting a game in Croke Park so early in the year is great, a big opportunity for us again so soon after September. It’s something we’re really looking forward to.”
Big things are expected again from the Tipp full- forward line of Callanan, John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and John McGrath which contributed 2-21 between them in last year’s All-Ireland final win, more than opponents Kilkenny’s entire tally.
Powerful Callanan said he’s keen to test himself again and feels ready for more hard graft. “Inter-county players, they need to be challenged, you know?” he said. “We all love playing the game. A week or two after (the final) you’re back with your club. If you stop or even leave the hurley down for two weeks then all of a sudden you’re getting the itch again. You want to go back, you want to be there.”
Ultimately, he wants to finish in the winning dressing-room end of the Championship. “For Tipp, we’ve lost enough All- Irelands to appreciate what it means to win one. When you see the comparison between the two. That should be motivation enough to get going and to push on really well.”
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