Callanan insists Tipp must be on guard against Rebel underdogs

By Donnchadh Boyle

Tuesday May 26 2009

TIPPERARY star Seamus Callanan has sounded a note of caution ahead of Sunday’s eagerly anticipated Munster SHC clash with Cork at Semple Stadium.

The Leesiders have produced some excellent performances in recent challenge games and, after their high-profile off-field issues, Callanan believes their quiet preparations have put them in an ideal position.

"We’re very cautious of this Cork team," the 20-year-old admitted. "In years before, you would have known what you got with them but they’ll be coming up with a point to prove after their strike. They haven’t been in the papers for the last few months and have been completely out of the limelight.

"They are in the perfect position. We are very wary of what they can bring. Everyone in Ireland knows that they can beat anyone on their day.
They have some great athletes like Tom Kenny and Sean Og (O hAilpin) and the O’Connors. They have such great players that any team with soft thoughts going to play Cork are in for a right land."

The Drom & Inch clubman has cemented his place as centre-forward for Tipp after being confined to the bench for the county side that won the All-Ireland minor title in 2006. Callanan made his championship debut against the Rebels last summer and ended the season with nominations for an All Star and Young Hurler of the Year.

"It’s hard to be a sub and watch a team win an All-Ireland," Callanan said, speaking at the launch of the U-21 All-Ireland hurling championship yesterday.

"You just want to be there yourself, so it was extra motivation to go on and prove people wrong. Maybe I thought I should have been playing but it’s extra motivation to go on and be selfish and be the best and nail down your position."

Tipp proved Kilkenny can be challenged when bringing the Cats to extra-time in a thrilling league final and Callanan insists that there is more to come from his side.

"You have to take positives out of it but there are negatives as well.
It goes to show that if you get in their faces that they can be beaten.
But moral victories are no good to us.

"People were saying well done to us after losing but that’s no good.
It’s well done for giving a performance and that’s not acceptable — definitely not in Tipperary anyway and I don’t think it would be in any other county.

"We’re all after the one goal and we all go training four nights a week for the one thing and that’s to be the best team in Ireland and we won’t stop until we reach that goal."

Tipp boss Liam Sheedy has real strength in depth in his forward options, with both Eoin and Paul Kelly declaring themselves fit, though they are likely to be kept in reserve with talented youngster Noel McGrath set to make his championship debut.

Elsewhere, Paddy Stapleton and Padraic Maher could also get their first starts in defence, while Tom Stapleton, who has appeared as a replacement in previous championships, gets his first start partnering Shane McGrath in midfield. Burgess clubman Shane Maher is the only absentee for Sheedy due to a hamstring injury.

"We were underdogs in the league final and Cork are probably underdogs this year coming up to play us on Sunday. It’s a great tag to have and a great position to be in, in that you have nothing to lose."

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