League clash with Deise the focus – O’Shea
06 FEBRUARY 2014 Irish Independent
TIPPERARY manager Eamon O’Shea has claimed that he’s “not really focused” on tomorrow evening’s Waterford Crystal Cup final against All-Ireland champions Clare in Sixmilebridge
O’Shea insists he’s far more concerned with the opening NHLfixture against Waterford at Semple Stadium on Saturday week.
The Tipp boss will travel to Clare with a severely depleted squad as a number of players have picked up injuries.
The 2010 All-Ireland-winning captain Eoin Kelly, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher, Paddy Stapleton, Seamus Callanan and David Collins are among the wounded as they prepare for a third successive Waterford Crystal Cup final showdown with Clare.
“There has been a very heavy workload – we’ve played nine matches and there are casualties out of that,” assistant manager Michael Ryan said.
Callanan and Collins both limped out of last Sunday’s semi-final victory against University of Limerick and Kelly pulled a hamstring last Saturday.
But Ryan revealed that 2010 All-Ireland SHC medallist Gearoid Ryan, who has endured an injury-plagued couple of seasons, will return to the squad shortly.
Ryan, still only 25, can operate at midfield or in the half-forward line and the assistant boss confirmed: “Gearoid Ryan is back moving again. He’ll join us in four weeks.”
O’Shea, meanwhile, is playing down the significance of an early-season joust with Clare. He said: “The big concentration is the league match (against the Deise), to be honest, and to make sure I have enough bodies to line out. That’s the focus – I’m not really focused on next weekend.
“When you’re in a final you try to win it, but the big game for me is Saturday week against Waterford. The league is very competitive and we look forward to that.
“There are only small margins between the teams – if we can retain a good attitude we always have a chance.”
Meanwhile, O’Shea is expected to confirm a 26-man panel for the National League over the weekend.