They’re winning, and that’s the most important point, reasons Tipperary minor hurling manager Liam Cahill.
Nine members of Cahill’s squad are also part of Charlie McKeever’s Tipperary minor football panel which scored an unexpected All-Ireland quarter-final win over Galway a fortnight ago.
The dual players returned to the hurling set-up in the wake of that victory, but their focus is now split between two All-Ireland semi-final dates.
Cahill, in an ideal world, would enjoy exclusive access to his players in the build-up to a season-defining fixture. He doesn’t and so is working with the hand he’s been dealt, drawing on the positive energy of the footballers win.
Four of his starting team for tomorrow’s All-Ireland semi-final were present inside the whitewash at O’Connor Park — Emmet Moloney, Brian McGrath, Tommy Nolan and Alan Tynan, the latter notching 1-5.
“When you are winning, it helps, irrespective of the code,” says Cahill. “Winning helps to keep that winning mentality going. All the members of the hurling panel put in a great shift for the football that day in O’Connor Park. I was delighted with how they performed. It can only stand them in good stead they are winning big matches.
“For us, it is just a case of managing these guys, keeping them fresh and keeping their appetite at the right pitch because the games are coming quick and fast.
“The football game probably did help the players break up the five-week lay-off we as a hurling group were faced with. Now both camps would probably agree the more regularly you have your players, the more prepared you will be. It is where it is at. Nine is a fine big number. There is nothing either management can do about it only help them and try and get them to the highest level possible each time they play.”
Cahill’s charges haven’t tasted competitive action since the Munster final win over Limerick on July 12 and the manager warned there can be no switching-off periods as was the case that afternoon.
Having hit the opening four scores of the second-half to turn a two-point deficit into a two-point lead, the manager was concerned by the subsequent easing on the throttle which allowed Limerick notch four on the bounce in reply.
“We lost our way for periods which is a trend for this team. That was evident from the first day out against Waterford that we tend to give teams too many opportunities to get back into games.
“I thought maybe 10 minutes after half-time in the Munster final we lost our way a bit, but we finished strong. They never gave up. They have a great sense of doggedness to see out the game, especially tight games. We are after coming through three very tight games.” He added: “Our free-count was quite high and Dublin’s Matthew Oliver will punish our indiscipline.
People always feel Dublin lack natural hurlers. These guys have an array of fellas who can use the hurley.”
Dublin (MHC v Tipperary):
E Skelly; C Hendricken, D Butler, C Ryan; E Foley, P Smyth, D Gray; M Oliver, C Sammon; E Conroy, M Maguire, C Dowling; F Whitely, A Considine, E Dunne.
Kilkenny (MHC v Galway):
S Murphy; M Cody, T Walsh, C McGrath; D Mullen, D Joyce, C Doheny; R Leahy, J Connolly; D O’Connor, S Mahony, J Donnelly; A Gaffney, J Cuddihy, T O’Dwyer.
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