Tipperary hurler James Woodlock insists the team continue to plough a lone furrow despite recording a third championship win on the hop, and, in the process, advancing to the All-Ireland semi-final.
Critics of the team remain large in population in the Premier County, with the midfielder claiming Eamon O’Shea’s charges can only count on the support of those present in the dressing-room on match-day, no one else.
“We’re under no illusions, it’s only ourselves and whoever is in that dressing-room that is paddling this canoe,” he stressed.
“There was no one here for us in the last couple of weeks after the Limerick game. In fairness to the Tipp public, they came out and supported us against Galway and they got us over the line when we went six points down. But enough had been written about us to cut the back off us. We just work away and we know we have the hurlers in there. We lost the game against Limerick but we were in the game the whole way. It was just a puck of a ball.
“We’re back now, we’re into an All-Ireland semi-final. We’re in the same position as Limerick are and Cork are, and they’re Munster champions.”
Tipperary’s passage to the penultimate round was secured courtesy of a 13-point win, Woodlock, however, labelled their display as “flat”.
“I think our hurling is still on the floor. That performance out there today, I’m sure the management won’t be happy (with) it. The players aren’t happy. And I know we spoke about it at half-time, we weren’t happy, so we’ve a lot of improvement to do.
“It was dead, flat throughout. We tried to pick it up at the start of the second half because we went in at half-time very disappointed with the way we played. We gave Dublin way too many opportunities and they drove a few wides. I thought we picked it up for a little while in the second half but that performance won’t be good enough the next day.
“We got over the line and we’re in an All-Ireland semi-final and that was our aim coming in. I’d rather win a bad one than lose a good one. We’d great years in Croke Park so we’re looking forward to going back up the road. Cork will have had a nice break, but they’re coming in as Munster champions with their tails up.”
Meanwhile, Dublin half-back Michael Carton believes the team have taken a step in the wrong direction this summer, describing yesterday’s performance as “the Dublin of old”.
“We’re missing that bit of consistency that we had for the last few years. We’ll just have to get back and work hard to get there again. Every year you step on the field you want to go forward and we went one step backwards this year.
“A heartbreaking performance. You think the preparation is done and you’re ready to hurl. But you have to hurl when you cross the white line.
“You can have all the gimmicks in the world, but you have to want the ball. We were dropping simple balls out there and just didn’t look the team we have been of late. It’s just so disappointing.”
Has the momentum garnered from the Leinster final win of 2013 now completely evaporated?
“Well after the last two performances, yeah probably. I’ll never mind losing if you perform on the pitch and play with a bit of freedom.
“We didn’t do that the last two days and it’s just not good enough at this stage. We’re a mature team, we shouldn’t be going out playing like that.”
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