The experienced James Woodlock insisted that the Tipperary performance would have to improve significantly to beat favourites Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final on Sunday, September 7th.
“It’s a big challenge. It’s Kilkenny and they are the benchmark,” the Drom & Man explained.
“We have nothing won this year and even after winning today we have nothing to show for it. We will have to work twice as hard again the next day. I’m sure we will do that. We have three weeks now,” James Woodlock said.
“I still think that there is more in us. We still would not be happy with what we got today. For the final fifteen minutes we took the foot off the pedal and if we do that the next day it won’t be enough to win the All-Ireland. Look, we are happy with what we did today, but we have a good bit to do. I can see it in training and it is coming all the time. If we can get it (going) in the All-Ireland final it will take us a long way,” Woodlock, who notched three points from play, added.
“I suppose that generally when Cork and Tipp play that’s what happens, it turns into a shootout,” James Woodlock said as his thoughts turned to Tipperary’s defensive approach to this All-Ireland semi-final.
“We wanted to tidy up the game. We wanted to play the game on our terms. I think that maybe in every game this year that Tipp have played on the opposition’s terms. Galway, Offaly and not as much Dublin, but today I think we played the game on our terms from the word go. We dictated the pace of the game from the throw-in.
“We are in good shape and we worked hard. We have been doing this in training, but we just have not been doing it on the field. I think maybe that we got another ten to fifteen per cent out of ourselves today, but I think there is still more to come.”
Pre-match the analysts had highlighted midfield as a key battle area with most pundits insisting that Cork would dominate the sector. The partnership formed by James Woodlock and Shane McGrath was outstanding however with both men in outstanding form and contributing an extraordinary 0-6 from play between them.
“To be honest I don’t read the papers,” James Woodlock said.
“I have never seen a match that I have played in and that’s the truth. I don’t read papers, but the lads were telling me during the week that the match was going to hinge on midfield. I like nothing more than a challenge and neither does Shane McGrath. I think that we didn’t do too bad out there.”
And, James Woodlock was eager to highlight that the Tipperary players will not allow themselves to get tied up in any hype prior to returning to play Kilkenny in Croke Park on Sunday, September 7th.
“It’s about the future now. We have three weeks to prepare for it. We have all been here before. I presume there is going to be a big hype outside (of the camp), but for ourselves there won’t be anything different inside in training,” James Woodlock insisted.
“It’s just going to be another match for us. We won’t be a bit nervous going out; none of the boys were nervous today. We are just looking forward to the game and looking forward to performing.”
Outstanding corner-back Cathal Barrett enjoyed an outstanding afternoon in the company of Cork’s marquee forward Pat Horgan.
“I just try to meet every ball and just try to think about the next ball,” Cathal Barrett said as he explained his approach to marking one of the finest forwards in the country.
“I thought we worked very hard. Communication is something that we work on in training. It worked out today anyway. Our backs were taking a lot of criticism. So, we really tried to work on team work and communication. I think we are slowly, but surely getting there.
“Goals really win matches,” Cathal Barrett explained.
“We feel that if we can keep out the goals at our end and the boys can get it in the net at the other end it’s a massive help.”
When Tipperary and Kilkenny last clashed in the All-Ireland final (2011) the Holycross-Ballycahill man watched the decider from the Cusack Stand as an eager young supporter - now Barrett enjoys an opportunity to make a personal dream come through.
“All I ever wanted to do was play in Croke Park,” Cathal Barrett admitted before praising the exploits of the Kilkenny team that Tipperary now face.
“Yeah, it’s Kilkenny. They are a brilliant team and their tradition speaks for itself. They are fantastic so it’s down to work for us straight away. Kilkenny are a fabulous team. What they have done over the last number of years has been phenomenal. We just need to worry about ourselves now and that’s it.”