Tipperary boss Eamon O’Shea is backing his players to “do themselves justice” in Saturday’s make-or-break All-Ireland SHC qualifier against Galway.
Tipp’s players have been subject to criticism following their Munster semi-final defeat to Limerick last month, much of it “unjustified” in O’Shea’s eyes.
But O’Shea believes his side will “bring something to the party” against the Tribesmen at Semple Stadium.
O’Shea admitted that rebuilding shattered confidence has been one of the key tasks since the Limerick loss.
But he senses Tipp are ready to answer their critics with a massive performance against Anthony Cunningham’s visitors.
O’Shea said: “This is the game between two serious contenders. We’ve been waiting five weeks to show we’re better than some of our performance against Limerick. Now, some of our performance that day wasn’t good, other parts of it were okay. But we’re looking forward to having a real go Saturday night and I’m looking forward to the players doing themselves justice.”
Issuing a pre-match rallying cry, O’Shea called for Tipperary fans to turn out in force at the weekend but he accepted: “I think it’s a two-way street in terms of support.
“I think the team has got to give the public something to really latch onto and that’s what we’ll be looking to do, in terms of the game we want to play.
“It’s 90 to 95% our responsibility to generate excitement and generate passion. After that, I’d really love to see the Tipperary public come out and support us. But it’s up to the team and ourselves to light that fuse.”
O’Shea blamed anxiety and a lack of composure in the closing stages for defeat against Limerick.
Explaining that players and management have been working hard on those psychological aspects since, O’Shea said: “It’s impossible to play well if you over think things — you’ve just got to go out and play the game and play it in the here and now. The team that goes out, really frees up a bit and wants to go and play usually comes out on top. That’s the key to doing something on Saturday night.”
But O’Shea conceded that he’s had to pick his players up following the devastating Limerick defeat.
He revealed: “There’s no doubt about it, because we didn’t play the way we wanted to play against Limerick, our confidence was down a little bit. We’ve been working really hard to build that confidence again because you can’t play without that level of confidence.”
O’Shea will announce his team to face Galway on Thursday evening but defender Conor O’Mahony has emerged as a concern with a back problem.
Lar Corbett’s ongoing knee injury is also being closely evaluated but if fit, he is tipped to start.
O’Shea said: “Lar is going fine. We have to manage him in terms of his injury. It’s not simple. But Lar should be okay.”
O’Shea has also warned Tipperary will face the country’s outstanding hurler in Joe Canning on Saturday.
The Galway star dragged his side back into contention in the drawn Leinster SHC semi-final against Kilkenny but endured a disappointing outing in the replay, scoring just a point from a trademark sideline cut.
But O’Shea insisted: “I think Galway are one of the small number of teams that can win the All-Ireland. They showed against Kilkenny that they’ve got a really solid outfit, they’ve been working towards this, they beat us in the league down in Salthill in March. They’ve got a really strong team and they’ve got the likes of Joe Canning — the outstanding player in the country. All of those things, we’re up against on Saturday night.”
O’Shea dismissed claims his former colleague and All-Ireland winning boss Liam Sheedy has been taking an active role in training sessions in the build-up to Saturday’s crunch qualifier clash with Galway.
O’Shea was coach when Sheedy managed Tipp to win the 2010 All-Ireland title but the current Premier County boss said that Sheedy’s sole involvement at the moment is with the county board and not with the squad.
“No, Liam Sheedy hasn’t been in and around training, he was talking to the county board alright,” said O’Shea.
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