What the media said: Eamonn Sweeney wonders what Brian Cody might have made of the Tipperary talent . . .

Brian McDonnell

Brian McDonnell

11 Jun 2018

Email:

bmcdonnell@tipperarystar.ie

What the media said: Eamonn Sweeney wonders what Brian Cody might have made of the Tipperary talent . . .

Gutted: the reaction of the Tipperary players to Sunday’s final whistle illustrated what playing in the blue and gold of the Premier County means. Photo: Eamonn Sweeney

In the wake of Tipperary’s earliest Championship exit since Sunday, June 7th 1998 when the Premier County lost a Munster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final to Waterford the national media have had their say on the narrow defeat to Clare. Some of the reaction has been reasoned while the Irish Independent’s Eamonn Sweeney wondered what Kilkenny manager Brian Cody might have made out of Tipperary’s players. Please read on for a selection of comments made by members of the national media this week.

Kilkenny get it done, Tipp let it slip. They are entirely different animals. The real Premier County wear black and amber. Look at the marvellous players Tipperary have produced in the last decade: Callanan, John O’Dwyer, Michael Cahill, Noel and John McGrath, Brendan, Padraic and ‘Bonner’ Maher. Look and wonder. What would Cody have made of them?
Eamonn Sweeney (Irish Independent)

You could say that Tipperary were unlucky, hitting the post at one end and, as a direct result, conceding a goal at the other but it’s been the whole story of their year. I’d agree with Mick Ryan’s comments afterwards that it was their best performance of the four but only up to a point because the flaws that have been evident since the league were still there by the end of the championship. They haven’t won their last five matches – four in Munster and the league final – and even the most recent win, against Limerick in the league semi-final, was in extra time. Defence has been the Achilles’ heel. They’ve been conceding too many scores and frees and have been rotating several corner backs. Yesterday there were more errors and poor clearances leading to Clare scores and, in general, they haven’t been able to gain any momentum or confidence in the Munster round-robin.
Nicky English (Irish Times

Amid all the kaleidoscopic granules of joy and colour and deep emotion, a tiny snapshot on the pitch afterwards encapsulated the absolute agony and ecstasy. Noel McGrath led Jake Morris through the celebrating Clare throng, his hand on the young Tipperary player’s shoulder as McGrath tried to comfort a young player in tears. Agony and ecstasy in elite sport are usually divided by inches and this game absolutely was because it jackknifed on a goal chance that Morris had in the 65th minute. His shot hit the post and Clare immediately launched a counterattack; Seadna Morey to John Conlon to Podge Collins, who released Ian Galvin, who buried the ball past Brian Hogan. A margin that should have been seven points was suddenly down to one. Game on. Big time. A brilliant match ignited in a fireball and the endgame was epic stuff.
Christy O’Connor (The Times, London)

This was a tough defeat for Tipperary. It was their best performance of the summer. Their work rate was phenomenal. They were savage in the tackle. Clare had some desperate wides but many of those were down to the absolute intensity of Tipperary’s play in the tight. They will look back, too, with real regret after Jake Morris’ goal chance hit the post and Clare counter-attacked up the pitch like lightning to score their goal. They will wince too when they think of Jason Forde’s missed free which would have pushed their lead out to three down the home straight. The point which had left Tipp two ahead came from Seamus Callanan moments earlier. It was probably the wise decision in the circumstances but the Callanan of two years ago would have taken that chance on a couple of more steps and buried it in the corner. Tipp probably did run out of gas.
Anthony Daly (Irish Examiner)

It was a game full of tension and drama. There was a marked improvement in Tipperary’s performance from their last few outings and they’ll feel this was a game they should have won.
Tommy Dunne (the42.ie)

Many will believe a stumbling Tipperary were put out of their misery by Clare and, while the vanquished resembled Wexford, who themselves were playing a fourth game in as many weekends the evening before, they had led from the fifth to the second minute of additional time in the second half and again a minute later.
John Fogarty (Irish Examiner)

Tipperary have a long summer and an even longer winter to reflect on why they faced an early cull from the newly-formatted Munster championship but when they return to action next January, their approach to the league will be considerably different to this year. Michael Ryan spelled it out in no uncertain terms after Clare had despatched them down the exit chute with a powerful finish in Semple Stadium, during which they wiped out a five-point lead to win by two.
Martin Breheny (Irish Independent)

For Tipp, the margins were impossibly minuscule. They led Clare by eight points in the first half and by two in the dying minutes. Had they held out for the win, they’d have given themselves a shot at hanging on for third place in Munster and would most likely be second favourites or thereabouts for Liam MacCarthy this morning. As it was, Podge Collins and Peter Duggan chiselled out the winning scores for Clare and Tipp were out, losing a thunderous encounter by 1-23 to 1-21.
Malachy Clerkin (Irish Times)

Tipperary made you doubt the evidence of your own eyes. Had you suggested before the beginning of the Munster Championship that they wouldn’t make the top three laughter would have been general all over Ireland. Predicting they wouldn’t win any of their four matches would have seemed downright perverse. This was the most talented squad of players in the competition. Yet their provincial campaign, a hurling equivalent of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow, is perhaps the logical conclusion to an era of relative underachievement.
Eamonn Sweeney (Irish Independent)

It was heartbreaking for Tipperary, who exit the championship at their earliest point since 1998. They were excellent. The players absolutely emptied themselves as they desperately tried to secure the two points to keep them alive. The energy and drive that had been absent during so many of Tipperary’s opening three games was fully evident for the 70 plus minutes yesterday but their best performance of the summer just was not enough to keep them afloat.
Christy O’Connor (The Times, London)

For most of the 70 minutes the home side looked to have this match firmly under control. Clare led only for a few seconds, early in the first half and trailed more or less all the way until the last two minutes of injury-time. Then, in an explosive ending, losing by a point they ran in three unanswered scores from Podge Collins, giving off the bench arguably the best performance since his 2013 pomp, and two from top marksman Peter Duggan, the coup de grace a phenomenal score from the right sideline in the dying seconds, reminiscent of how Tony Kelly finessed the 2016 league final in the same stadium.
Seán Moran (Irish Times)

At the finish, Michael Ryan and his three selectors stayed on the sideline where they had stood all day, heads bowed, surveying the death of a season. Well-wishers filed by to offer condolence. Respectful handshakes. A hug. Not quite house private. Youngsters offered hurleys and they were signed, but it seemed a bit much.
Larry Ryan (Irish Examiner)

PRE-MATCH

It’s impossible to read Tipperary at the moment. How many more times will they turn the corner and then turn back? Their season hinges on finding a 70-minute performance, something that they haven’t managed since March. I think Clare can turn them over: they have goals in their attack and the legs to take on a Tipp defence that is short on pace. By the middle of this afternoon Tipp will be the first big casualty of the new championship.
Henry Shefflin (Sunday Times)

The first, real white-knuckle afternoon with the losers all but certain to exit the championship by mid-June. It is Tipp’s fourth weekend running but they seem impervious to the experiences of other counties, having played as poorly – if not more so – in their first match as they did in their third. None of their players are in consistent form with different individuals unexpectedly coming up with big plays. Their miracle draws against Cork and Waterford have alternated between the frenzied, haphazard quality of throwing the kitchen sink and disappearing down its plug-hole.
Seán Moran (Irish Times)

Tipperary are stumbling but they’re hanging on. This is their fourth successive game in 21 days. Clare have had two weeks off. It’s never easy to beat Tipperary, especially in Thurles, but these Clare players should demand absolutely nothing else of themselves only a win.
Anthony Daly (Irish Examiner)

Tipperary failed to get out of the blocks either in the competition or the individual games. It’s when they were about to be toppled off the cliff that they discovered the survival instinct that kicked in against Cork and Waterford. It needs to be found earlier. They look to be lacking in confidence and energy. That’s been a pattern going back to the league final, but they are hanging in there and will qualify providing they can beat Clare. Clare showed familiar flaws against Cork, not converting superiority into scores in the periods they dominated. They were impressive against Waterford but account has to be taken of Kevin Moran’s sending-off, the litany of injuries during the game and the resulting disruption. They won’t be frightened of Tipperary but my gut feeling is that in survival mode Tipp might just find enough to shade a close encounter.
Nicky English (Irish Times)

Tipperary have been brilliant and brutal over their last four outings in a fashion recallable of no other team over the last 30 years. The closest case is probably the Clare vintage of 1999. There is the same willingness to die in however brackish a ditch, even if the Tipperary vintage of 2018 contains significantly better forwards. I salute their efforts, the sweeping brilliance involved in recovering the day against Cork and against Waterford. Michael Ryan must possess special qualities as manager if he can oversee such resilience two days in a row. While Tipperary have won nothing as yet in 2018, their core tradition is augmented. Counties win all sorts of silverware without necessarily carrying off this distinction. Yet there is an unignorable question. Are all Tipperary players offering optimum commitment? You would wonder. And what happens when you resume dependence on those players, short of that commitment? Who is in control, heel of hunt? Shovel more coal into this train of thought. What happens if a county wins an All Ireland without optimum buy in from leading lights? What lessons do tyros, waiting in the wings of exam halls, absorb? What manager would ever have a firm grip on the Tipp reins in the coming years?
You heard it here first: All Ireland victory in 2018 would be the worst possible fillip for Tipperary hurling’s medium term prospects. This Sunday, Clare might do Tipp the not inconsiderable favour of heading off seeming cure as ultimate poison. To quote BA Baracus, petrified of flying but still getting somewhere important unbeknownst to himself: “Sure, I’ll have some milk.” Strange positives hide in the most unpalatable scenarios.
PM O’Sullivan (Irish Examiner)

FURTHER READING

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