Michael Ryan maintains the last thing Tipperary will do is get ahead of themselves as they prepare for an All-Ireland semi-final.
A 21-point Munster final victory would be something to cherish if there wasn’t an itch Tipperary have been desperate to scratch since their All-Ireland success in 2010.
“Look, we’ve been down this road before,” Ryan remarked. “This bunch has suffered enough. We’ve experienced not enough highs and certainly too many lows. So, you know, there’s a lot of experience in there. But it is a challenge for us tomorrow morning, and tomorrow is when we’ll think about it, not today.
“But we’ve got to manage this. And, you know, hopefully, and I’d like to think the Tipp public are behind this team, but not to have excessive expectations.
“Every opposition we play are worthy opposition. Whoever will turn up to play us in the semi-final will be a very worthy opposition. They’ll get our full attention as soon as they’re known. And in the meantime, we’ll focus on ourselves.”
Negotiating the five-week break between here and their All-Ireland semi-final on August 14 is something Ryan has put a lot of thought into having been part of Eamon O’Shea’s backroom team last year when they lost to Galway and again in 2008 as part of the Liam Sheedy group when Waterford upset them.
“We agonised a lot over it over the winter months in terms of ‘did we miss out on something from the Munster final to All-Ireland semi-final?’ It’s a funny time to manage. Thankfully, our boys will be heading back to the divisional semi-finals next week. That’s important.
“Pull it back then to four weeks and it becomes a different time frame to manage.
“There is no exact science. There is only the Kilkennys of this world who have it nailed. They arrive on All-Ireland semi-final day right. The rest of us sometimes get it right; more often than not we’ve got it wrong. That’s the challenge for us.”
While 5-19 was a staggering tally, particularly when one of Tipperary’s proven scorers John O’Dwyer was suspended, Ryan warned his team are capable of more.
“We’d have loved a fine day to really play the game that we want to play with the underfoot conditions, and we might just get it yet, and three days out of three we haven’t.”
Ryan was determined that his players would drive on regardless of the distance they had put between themselves and Waterford.
“How often have you seen a team with a reasonable lead take their foot off the pedal and get a little bit complacent? We’ve certainly seen it in Tipp. We’ve got to keep a level of competition in this squad. We’re approaching the right level. There are no freebies.
“As regards getting complacent, complacency is the greatest enemy of any team.
“If you become complacent, there is no switch to turn it back off. We were very determined that it wouldn’t happen us today.”
The manager gave due credit to John McGrath for his stunning performance. “We had John McGrath in the set-up last year and he is just a great talent and I just think there is a great work ethic to this team and they are absolutely fully committed to the cause, and you guys (in the media) understand it because you are reporting on every other match, but all of these amateur players that we have in the GAA family are just giving and giving and giving. They are super guys and they deserve an awful lot of credit and I’d say the very same about the Waterford guys, they are at the wrong end of a defeat here today. Do remember the effort that everybody makes.”
Ryan also dismissed the suggestion the choice of venue had motivated his men. “No, zero. Zero. And I fully understand where Waterford were coming from with that. Thurles is a home venue to us. They’ve been there last year and it didn’t work out. Would I have done anything different? I probably wouldn’t.
“You’re just looking to level any part of the playing pitch, pardon the pun. Limerick is a fine pitch. We’re delighted to come up here. All is well in the world when you win and all is wrong when you don’t. And we all know that.”
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