“We made a decision this year, it was either hurling or football. We didn’t stop anyone. If they wanted to play football, the best of luck to them"

Tipperary minor hurling selector TJ Ryan acknowledges Limerick are “in a better position” ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland MHC final.

In the Munster decider Tipperary easily disposed of Limerick but Ryan isn’t expecting a repeat of that this weekend.

“Limerick are in a better position than us, probably, coming into this game. It’s our second time playing Limerick and I don’t think they played well the day of the Munster final — they had a lot of chances, they missed them, even in front of the goals.

“That won’t happen the next day — there won’t be as much pressure on Limerick. Whether that pressure comes on us... I wouldn’t be happy with everything we did in the semi-final, we have to improve our performance.

“We might have a little help in that there should be more supporters there behind Tipperary, that’s definitely a little bit of an advantage. We’ve played Limerick in challenge matches and there were no big gaps there. Just a couple of points.”

Tipperary’s huge win over Galway in the semi-final isn’t something they expect to repeat Sunday, says selector John Sheedy: “It’s an elephant in the room, if you like, we did score seven goals the last day, we can’t deny that. Not in our wildest dreams did we think going up that we’d score seven goals, and we definitely won’t score seven this Sunday.

“All these matches take on a life of their own, all we can do is prepare our team. We’re so lucky with (management team) Mikey Bevins, Sean Corbett, and Liam Cahill, they’re great men.

“They’re preparing them as best they can and the players are a good bunch — they’ve given us everything and if we bring our game we have every chance. But it’ll be completely different to the Munster final, that day was a one-off. History is full of teams that thought they were kings and found out they weren’t.

“Last year we had a very talented bunch but on the day of the All-Ireland final Galway played a sweeper and we just found that hard to deal with.

“I think the match was a draw at half-time but they got goals in the second half and we found it hard to recover.

“We had a good bunch last year — all these minors are trying the best, they’ve a lot going on in their lives with exams and so on, we appreciate all they’re trying to do.”

The Tipp minor footballers aren’t involved at the sharp end of the season, which both selectors feel will help the hurlers.

“The players are fresher, definitely,” says Ryan. “It’s very hard to do both. We didn’t see the players for three weeks, eight or 10 of them, going into the All-Ireland last year. It was very hard to prepare the team. We made a decision this year, it was either hurling or football. We didn’t stop anyone playing football. If they wanted to play football, best of luck to them.

“It’s something a lot of counties will have to face. It’s very hard to play hurling one night, football the next — and then go back to your club. You’d want to be an engine in a car, turn on, turn off.”

Sheedy adds: “People think we’re anti-football. I have four North (Tipp) junior football medals and I’m proud of them, but in the modern game, with all the back doors, you haven’t a chance. We had players last year on 17, 18 teams. Batman wouldn’t do that.”

Don’t miss the Irish Examiner GAA Podcast. Daithi Regan, Tadhg O’Connor, Eddie Keher, Eamonn Murphy and PM O’Sullivan join Peter McNamara to discuss the Kilkenny v Tipperary All-Ireland hurling final.


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