Sheedy: 'We're exactly where we want to be'
By John Harrington
Tipperary hurling manager Liam Sheedy is back right where he wants to be.
Nine years since he last brought a Premier County team into an All-Ireland SHC Final, he’s preparing to do it all over again and against the same opposition, Kilkenny.
The game has evolved considerably in the intervening nine years, but Sheedy feels like his previous spell in the hot-seat has prepared him well for the challenge to come.
“No, it's great, it's good to have been through the routine previously,” said Sheedy.
“That's the one thing, while a lot has changed, there's also a lot of constants.
“Having been through the build-up I know what it's like to have played in an All-Ireland semi-final and watch the build-up go on when we lost in 2008, and also I suppose to have been in All-Ireland preparation mode previously in '09 and '10.
“That's a help, for sure, because having a routine in life and in sport is good at times.
“The three weeks building up to an All-Ireland Final is the best three weeks of your life.
“We're exactly where we want to be and we're loving every aspect of our preparation and we know now it's all geared towards bringing a performance out onto that pitch because if we come up any bit short or off-colour, we will be found out, because this is a serious, serious Kilkenny team.”
Tipperary’s All-Ireland title odds lengthened considerably when they were hammered by Limerick in the Munster SHC Final.
It was tough set-back at the time for Sheedy and his players, but the manner in which proved their character all over again in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Wexford helped exorcise those Munster Final demons.
“We took the scenic route,” said Sheedy “The Munster Final was a tough day for us. We didn't bring a level of performance in the second-half of what we'd expect from ourselves so that was hugely disappointing.
“But, equally impressive was the way the guys regrouped and have gone about their business since. Probably a lot of question marks still from various sectors after the quarter-final performance.
“The first-half was tough for us against Wexford. They were over-running us and had us in deep trouble at periods in that first half. But, ultimately, the way we finished the game and the way we reacted when our backs was to the wall was probably hugely pleasing.
“So, look, from that point of view, I suppose every year when you start out you want to be involved on All-ireland Final day and that's where we find ourselves and we're just really, really looking forward to it.
“As I said, it's been hard-earned. There's been a few twists and turns along the way which I knew there would be. But to be in there now is really, really pleasing. It's one we're just really relishing and looking forward to.”