No cause for panic, Hogan tells Premier fans
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Prior to last Sunday’s win over Dublin there was no doubting the level of panic beginning to attack Tipperary hurling supporters, the prospect of a relegation playoff looming large if they didn’t beat the Dubs by three points or more.
In the event they did what they needed to. Crisis averted.
Was that panic justified, however? No, says All-Ireland-winner and former manager Ken Hogan. “It’s a tough time of the year for any manager. You’re getting ready for the major competition later in the year — the championship — and you have to keep the insurance work going for that, the strength and conditioning.
“Add in the combination of injuries, college, work commitments and you’re looking at a very unsettled period, yet you’re out Sunday after Sunday in important games in the league. It’s not until after the Fitzgibbon Cup final weekend that you really start to get your full panel together, and Eamon (O’Shea, current manager) is a huge supporter of that competition, gives the lads a lot of leeway to engage with it.”
Here’s a sobering thought though for Tipperary fans; in the 20 years from 1972 to 1991 Tipp won two All-Ireland titles, a period they call ‘The Famine’ and recall now only with a shudder; from 1992 to 2013 — 22 years — they have won exactly the same number, two.
“They are expectant,” said Hogan of the Tipp fans, “but that’s been there for a long time. I grew up in the 70s, went to all those games when from 1971 right through to 1987 Tipperary didn’t win a Munster title. So many great players in that time yet they won nothing, yet they were still my heroes.
“Obviously there’s disappointment in Tipperary but I was very heartened the way the supporters got behind the team last Sunday, in the second half especially when it was most needed and when they started to come back at Dublin. There is expectation but there is also respect, a mutual respect between players and supporters.”
Patience, that’s what’s required, an eye on bigger days ahead.
“There can be an impatience for success but it’s a lot easier said than done. The competition that’s there at the moment is very high, a lot of outstanding teams.
“In this year’s league Dublin beat the reigning champions, Kilkenny, and the reigning All-Ireland champions, Clare, yet Tipperary beat Dublin last Sunday and now they’re facing Waterford in the relegation playoff.
“Then you look at the two teams who met in last year’s relegation playoff, Cork and Clare, and they ended up meeting in the All-Ireland final. It’s too early to say now who’s going to do what later in the season, I think people need to be more patient. Don’t look back, look to the future and that starts next Sunday.”
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