Tipperary’s Eamon O’Shea: ‘This is simply handing on – you don’t own it – it’s part of a culture’
Next Sunday’s Munster semi-final against Limerick in Thurles looms large.
Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO
EAMON O’SHEA IS gearing himself up for his second senior championship at the helm of Tipperary.
2013 got off to an inauspicious start when they were rocked by Limerick, next Sunday offers a chance for redemption.
He speaks about the managerial project, the return of Bonner Maher, dealing with pressure and the impact of Seamus Callanan.
1. Vindication after league final…
“No, not really, I don’t really do vindication. When I talk to anyone I talk to my players. With all due respect I don’t “talk” to anybody else. You’re always waiting and hoping for it (form) to turn, it’s always a cause for concern.
“I don’t blame people looking from the outside saying what’s wrong, this is not going well. From the inside I knew we were trying to do the right things. Some of the things I tried didn’t come off, so I knew I was causing some of the stuff that was going on.”
2. Changes to defensive spine…
“I’ve always liked Brendan Maher at centre back, I think he’s very classy. We were experimenting a little with the full back position, we had injuries to Michael Breen, Conor O’Mahony and Paudie Maher himself was injured for two games. So we hadn’t an opportunity to really nail it down, but Paudie’s a good full back.”
Source: Cathal Noonan
3. Lessons learned from losing to Limerick….
“The period last year between the league final and the championship game against Limerick was a period where there were a lot of things going on and I maybe I didn’t have the focus I should have had. You had club games, we needed to focus a little bit more and I take some responsibility for that.”
4. The pressure on modern managers…
“Well, it didn’t look good for me back in March! There are probably 9 teams that can win the hurling All-Ireland. It’s very competitive, there’s a great equality among teams. The pressures are on because it’s so competitive and that has changed even in the space of five years.
“It’s equalled out and the new approach to hurling has impacted greatly and has put pressure on all teams, including the traditional teams. The notion of the big three (Kilkenny, Tipperary and Cork) dominating, that is gone, that is over.”
5. Bonner Maher…
“Certainly last year with the type of work he was in, it wasn’t always easy for him. He’s an outstanding player, a top player in terms of mentality. Having him this year in good shape is a really big bonus.
“We have another player coming back – Gearoid Ryan, who is equally a really important player and hopefully he’ll be good to go this summer. Those two players will certainly add to the depth of our panel.”
Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO
6. Managerial project…
“I’ll be replaced as manager in due course. What we want to try and do is to improve things or the way I want to see the game played. There’s a bigger project in there – the players in the dressing room.
“They’re going to outlive me in the dressing room so they’ve got to know what it’s like to be successful. I really believe that this is simply handing on – it’s all the time about trying to push the thing on and giving it back because you don’t own it.
“The manager doesn’t own it and the players don’t own it. It’s part of a culture. That culture has been in for a long, long time here. You try to make sure you don’t lose it but make sure it’s sustained.”
7. Working with players…
“Most managers are now aware that it’s important that you’re aware of the wholeness of people’s lives, not just when they turn up in front of you for two hours or four hours. Life is more important than their hurling.
“It is difficult – you have little enough time with the players. We train Tuesday’s and Thursday’s and probably a weekend, so there’s not that much time actually. That’s what the benefit of a run does for you – it allows you to work with the players when the ball is travelling at the level that you’d want to judge a player.”
8. The impact of Seamus Callanan…
“He’s worked really hard this year but he’s always worked hard. This year, he’s got consistent. The belief that we have in him would be huge.
“When you’re a forward, all you can keep doing is showing for the ball even when it’s not going for you. I think he’s done that – he’s been outstanding for us really.”