Corcoran, Ormond Call Time

Corcoran, Ormond call time

IAN O’RIORDAN

 

WHEN YOU lose one hurling match all year, and that was the All-Ireland semi-final, the natural inclination is to press on in the hope of going that extra step in 2009. For Tipperary that process begins this evening with the quarter-final of the Waterford Crystal Cup against Waterford although two of their most seasoned defenders – Eamonn Corcoran and Paul Ormond – have gone against the grain and called time on their careers.

It’s a double blow to Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy but in some ways it’s fitting they should retire simultaneously. Both Corcoran and Ormond joined the senior panel in 1999; they both won All-Ireland medals in 2001, playing at wing back and corner back respectively; and they’re both now aged 31 – the age, Corcoran believes, when time catches up with you.

"It would have been nice to go on for another year," he says, "but I think there comes a time when the training becomes harder and harder, and work-wise, it gets harder to make the commitment. The legs aren’t what they used to be either, so I just felt it was time to get away.

"At 31, I might still have a few years left but it’s probably the length of time I’ve been there, more than anything else. I was also getting caught a bit with the pace of the game, and then started to think I wasn’t able to give it as much time. If you can’t do that you have to be honest with the management. My work with Bank of Ireland involves a fair bit of travel and you have to think of your career as well. So there’s a lot of reasons there, but the main ones being what I feel I can give to Tipperary, and the level I want to be playing at, aren’t what they should be, so it’s time to let a few more of the young lads come through."

Corcoran won an All Star during Tipperary’s All-Ireland season in 2001, and also three league titles – 1999, 2001 and 2008 – with a total of 43 championship appearances.

Ormond’s career was heavily disrupted by injury, and although his decision to retire is less surprising, he would have been captain last year had he made the starting 15.

Sheedy has already done some rebuilding work with his panel ahead of this evening’s game against Waterford – the only team that beat Tipperary last year, in that shock 1-20 to 1-18 semi-final. John Devane has been recalled to the panel, along with five of last year’s under-21s – Padraig Maher, Gearóid Ryan, Patrick Maher, Brendan Maher and Séamus Hennessy.

Naturally, both Corcoran and Ormond didn’t reach their decision overnight: "We started together, and we always felt we’d probably finish together," explains Corcoran. "I was fortunate enough to have won an All-Ireland along the way, back in 2001. Maybe we didn’t get the rub of the green after that, and of course you’d always want to win as many All-Ireland medals as you can. But it’s nice to have one to walk away with.

"In fairness, Liam was very understanding of where I was coming from, and was very supportive. I just know coming off after the Waterford game, that I’d given that year more commitment than any other year, and yet I felt, personally, my performances weren’t quite up to scratch. I suppose the most disappointing aspect of it all is that we didn’t hurl to the best of our ability that day."

Not that it’s the end of their playing careers with the club, with Corcoran especially looking forward to committing fully to JK Bracken’s.

This evening’s game takes place under floodlights at the unlikely venue of the St Mollerans club in Carrick-on-Suir, with Tipperary not only setting out to win a third successive Waterford Crystal Cup, but also to go on another unbeaten run which this time they hope will last all the way through September.

Dan Shanahan has given Waterford a massive boost by confirming his availability for the coming season. The Lismore man, who recently celebrated his 32nd birthday, believes the Déise have "unfinished business" to attend to after last September’s All-Ireland final drubbing by Kilkenny.

Shanahan was the 2007 Hurler of the Year but had a poor season in 2008. He said: "I did everything the same and trained as hard as the year before but the ball just didn’t hop for me. It was just one of those years. I suppose I have a bit of unfinished business to attend to after being taken off in the All-Ireland final. We’ll be looking to do better and to prove ourselves again."

Shanahan won’t feature in tonight’s game with Tipperary.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2009/0114/1231738222484.html?digest=1

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