Liam Sheedy looking forward to Championship challenge
By Cian O'Connell
Enthusiastic to be back on the inter-county beat, Liam Sheedy is hopeful another talented Tipperary team can be stitched together.
Back in 2008 Sheedy integrated a raft of emerging players into the blue and gold set-up. Some of those gifted players are still involved, but that wasn't the exact reason why the Portroe clubman opted to return to the Tipperary fold.
"Timing didn’t really come in to it – it was that fact that I have a close affiliation with the players," Sheedy says about working with the blend of experience and youth.
"I guess there is a good young bunch coming through. Probably what impressed people most of the Tipperary Under-21 team was the spirit.
"They were soundly beaten in the Munster final by 13 points but their heart and determination and spirit – a free spirit is something Tipperary always try to tap in to and that’s what I will be trying to tap in to.
"Then you have got the guys that are in at 25 or 26, that have won since 2016 and probably are saying what could we do in the next two or three years."
Sheedy is adamant that Tipperary can make an impact in the coming weeks and months. "I would see it as being an exciting project," Sheedy admits. "Obviously the competitive terrain that you find yourself in is as strong as it has ever been and as competitive as it has ever been.
"You see the way the three teams from Munster represented themselves in the All-Ireland semi-final stages. One of them got their hands on it, but the other two were probably saying we were so close.
"That is the arena you find yourself in. The bottom line is Tipperary right now are outside the top six. "If I look at my short-term goal it is how can we catapult ourselves into the top six and look to get into the quarter-final stage."
Following All Ireland victories in 2010 and 2016 Tipperary couldn't land the Liam MacCarthy straightaway. Is that a concern? "They are hard to win," Sheedy responds. "I really do think they are hard to win. Apart from Kilkenny there is nobody really managing to do back to back.
"Galway failed to do it again this year even though they got back into the final they couldn’t find the energy to do it. It’s not an easy thing to do. "Tipperary were very competitive in 2017 losing out by a point to Galway and it could have went either way in 2016 as well. Obviously in 2018 they had two draws.
"It’s not as if they have been a million miles and maybe falling off the cliff. But everything needs to go right for you to be successful. That clearly is the case.
"We will have to travel to Cork, we will have to travel to Clare in the Championship. Then you have got Waterford and Limerick coming to Thurles. These are going to be rip-roaring games. It’s a tough Championship and one we are really looking forward to." The countdown has commenced down south.