Kelly wants redemption for Tipp

Kelly wants redemption for Tipp

Thursday, June 06, 2013  Irish Examiner

Tipperary are looking to make amends for last year’s disastrous exit from the championship, says Eoin Kelly.

By Michael Moynihan

Dumped unceremoniously out of the All-Ireland semi-final by rivals arch Kilkenny, Tipperary are on a drive for redemption, according to their attacking talisman.

“There is really, you would have seen that earlier on in the year,” said Kelly. “Lads really knuckled down to it. Lads know it too. Lads are not getting younger and the young guys will be calling, the Paudie Mahers, Brendan Mahers, Noel McGraths. All these lads are going to 22, 23, 24, coming into their prime as elite athletes, as elite hurlers, and they want to make ithappen now.”

Their first step is this weekend against Limerick. Asked if Tipperary had been surprised by Limerick’s intensity in last year’s Munster championship encounter, the Mullinahone clubman agreed.

“I think we could have been, the intensity and physicality they brought to it. We are hoping we will rectify that on Sunday, but we won’t know until Sunday. In the end, I think they should have won last year. But that’s dead and buried now.”

He’s not expecting the fact that Limerick are operating in the second tier of the hurling league to be a factor.

“Munster championship, everyone is up for it. There’s a different atmosphere, a different hum around the place, in the stands, walking down the street even. In the dressing room.

“It is do or die, there’s a massive prize on offer at the end of the game. Playing in a Munster final, for both sets of players that’s what you want, to be playing in another big game.

Kelly is enjoying his hurling — “As long as I enjoy it and I love it and I feel wanted, which I do in this squad, I will stay playing as long as I can,” — but he acknowledges the end of his inter-county career is looming.

“Look, there is a certain feeling. You hear John Mullane saying it and Dermot Earley on television, when you’re probably away from it I’d say there is a weird feeling not being involved when you’d like to be involved, and so used to being involved, and I’m hoping for that as long as I can.

“When you listen to lads, it probably is [scary] but you can’t be thinking like that. Genuinely now I am just looking forward to going down training. This is what it is about. This time of the year now is great.”

Kelly wasn’t biting when asked about recent comments from former Tipperary selector Tommy Dunne’s recent suggestion that he didn’t have 70 minutes in him: “It’s hard to judge that. If you go to the game on Sunday and the next thing a guy is playing well and on form, you can’t really judge that at all. You could be getting on a lot of ball maybe in the first 50-60 minutes.

“You can only answer that question as the game progresses. I don’t mindPeople have different views.”

Kelly sees a huge increase in intensity and physicality in the game in the last three years, since Tipperary’s last All-Ireland win.

“In the middle third now, between the two 65s, before you’d have a midfielder giving in a lovely ball to a forward there, but now the minute the midfielder wins a ball there’s three or four lads tackling him. Whoever wins that middle third has a big advantage in winning the game.”

Kelly was speaking at the Croke Park launch of Centra’s sponsorship of the hurling championship.

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