Liam Sheedy thrilled with Tipperary's response
By Cian O'Connell
Niall O'Meara's delightful first half goal was a key moment in the All Ireland SHC Final according to Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy.
The proud and passionate Portroe clubman acknowledged that Tipperary encountered some early turbulence before recovering to emerge commanding winners over Kilkenny at Croke Park.
O'Meara's flash of class was hugely important in an eventful opening period which also included Richie Hogan's sending off.
"Obviously to play a man down for such a long period was always going to be a difficult assignment," Sheedy reflected.
"For long periods of that first half we were gasping for air to be honest, we needed a goal and when we got it from an individual piece of brilliance from Niall. It was a great finish because Eoin Murphy is a hard man to pass.
"At half-time we probably felt we didn't find our flow in that first half, we never really got to the pitch of it. We spoke about what we wanted to achieve and the level of performance we wanted to find. That is such an honest group, they self correct honestly. I had to say very little.
"This all comes from inside the white lines, this comes from this wonderful group, who show maturity way beyond their years. The goal after half-time settled us. Once we settled we got a bit of a foothold on the game. Whatever playing about playing a man down, when you go seven or eight behind it is very difficult to claw it back. It had a huge bearing on the game no question."
Sheedy also acknowledged the contribution of his backroom team to a stunning 3-25 to 0-20 success at GAA headquarters. "A lot of you sat in front of me when I started this journey and we said about the risk coming back," Sheedy remarked.
"I committed to giving this group and team 100 per cent. What I wanted was 100 per cent back. Whether we won or lost, we had given everything we possibly could. I stood at half three there today, knowing I had done everything I possibly could to get that team in the shape of their lives. That was their work and the way they responded.
"Thankfully we sit here at the end of 2019 as All Ireland champions, it is very pleasing from that perspective. This journey was never about me, it is all about the team and all about the backroom team we put around them.
"Eamon O'Shea, Tommy Dunne, and Darragh Egan are just unbelievable men, all three. Cairbre (O Caireallain) doing the S and C, the condition he has got those players in is just fantastic. There is numerous more, but ultimately they challenged the lads and the lads responded."