Kennedy the only Tipp absentee as Sheedy backs calls  for more testing

Liam Sheedy. Photo: Sportsfile

Liam Sheedy. Photo: Sportsfile

Tipperary’s Liam Sheedy says he has found new gratitude for the opportunity to manage his county’s hurling team as they prepare to put their All-Ireland title on the line in the coming weeks.

He has also given his backing to increased testing of inter-county squads which the Gaelic Players Association has requested on behalf of its membership this week following last week’s poll.

“I’d be very supportive of anything that helps to ensure the safe playing of our games. And if that move makes our games and our players safer, I think that those actions are right,” said Sheedy.

“So if testing is increasing the safe playing of our games then I absolutely think it is worth considering. I’m not the expert in that space but I can understand where that would be coming from, definitely.”

Tipp meet the winners of Sunday’s Munster quarter-final between Clare and Limerick seven days later and Sheedy admits the pandemic and disruption in people’s lives has generated greater appreciation among him and his players for what they do. 

“In times of crisis you really do realise how fortunate we are and how fortunate I am to manage and the lads are to get to step out on the pitch,” he acknowledged.

Sheedy will be without Seamus Kennedy who has damaged a medial ligament and has his leg in a brace but John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer is in full flight again and should be ready after a long battle with injury.

“John has had a really tough time of it,” he said. “He was in a boot nearly for four weeks over the course of the summer. Really, when you look back since the All-Ireland final last year, he’s had very, very limited activity. He’s been really tested by an injury that we just couldn’t get right. The operation has been done and he’s back training hard.

“It has really impacted his ability to prepare. But for the last few weeks, he’s been superb. He’s coming really strong and it looks like the injury is behind him.”

Kennedy will miss the semi-final but should be available again shortly after that, while Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher, who missed most of last year’s championship with a cruciate ligament injury, is also on course to play a big part.

“He’s a real warrior, great for him that his club Lorrha would have made the final stages of the Seamus Ó Riain Cup. Building him up in the club scenario was probably the ideal scenario for him to get some exposure to really high-intensity games without maxing out. He has come back in to us in great shape.”

Sheedy admitted that their warm-weather training camp in Spain in March, after which they had to restrict their movements when they returned home because of rising cases in Spain, prepared them well for what was to come.

“It probably did heighten our awareness in how we needed to behave as a panel and as a backroom team around Covid. We have created a really safe environment around the players. We have to make sure that we put the players and their families first and foremost in our preparation.

“There have been nights when three or four guys didn’t come to training because they might have had a sore throat or runny nose,” he explained. “It’s just zero tolerance around that stuff.”

Comments are closed.