McGeeney will challenge Tipp hurlers to scale new heights’
CLIONA FOLEY – PUBLISHED 18 APRIL 2014 02:30 AM
Eamon O’Shea’s decision to bring Kieran McGeeney into his Tipperary hurling back-room team may have caused some head-scratching but former Kildare ace Johnny Doyle reckons it will improve them significantly.
“No matter what sport it is, Kieran will challenge the lads,” Doyle said, ahead of Tipperary’s clash with All-Ireland champions Clare in Sunday’s Allianz Hurling league semi-finals.
“There are probably a few traditionalists around Tipperary saying ‘what the hell is Kieran McGeeney doing here?’ but I’d say he doesn’t talk too much hurling with them. It’ll be all about how they can prepare better and what they can do to bring more to the team as an individual.
“Whether you’re the oldest on the team or a new lad coming in, he’ll challenge them to improve,” Doyle added, revealing his own tale of McGeeney’s high expectations and demands when he first took over Kildare.
Mid-way through the Allianz League, Doyle found himself selected on the ‘B’ team in an internal training match.
Doyle recalled: “I wasn’t overly happy and I went to him and I said ‘what are we looking at here?’ and he said ‘you’re not where I need you to be.’
“I said ‘what do you mean? I’m training hard!’ I was getting a bit vexed, and I said ‘look, if you think there’s six better forwards in Kildare than me, fair enough.’
“And he said ‘see Johnny, that’s your problem. I need you to be one of the best in the country, not the best in Kildare!’
“My level of expectation wasn’t where he saw it and that sums up Kieran for me. He always looks for more. He’ll ask them (Tipperary players) the hard questions. Not just to be better themselves but what they can do to make the team better. I think he will definitely improve things down there.”