Tipperary visited Nowlan Park and suffered a third successive defeat at the Kilkenny venue on Sunday - the sides clashed in last year’s league final (0-20 to 2-17), in the All-Ireland qualifiers (1-14 to 0-20) and now this latest defeat (5-14 to 5-20) means that Tipperary have to go back to the 2008 league semi-final to find their last win (1-15 to 1-10) in Kilkenny.
Playing with the wind in the opening half on Sunday Tipperary raced into a 4-9 to 1-8 lead, but ultimately lost conceding 4-12 and hitting just 1-5 in forty minutes. A 16-point swing.
“Yeah, it’s a big swing. The momentum goes with the wind,” Eamon O’Shea told the Tipperary Star.
“You’re not happy to get beaten and I’m not happy to get beaten. I’m not trying to say there are positives where there are not. I’m not happy we got beaten, but I am happy with the way we are trying to play the game the way we want to play it.
“There is absolutely nothing between the top six teams in the National League. We don’t have any right to be winning games, but don’t write us off yet,” Eamon O’Shea added.
Despite the fact that Tipperary had lost their third sucessive clash with Kilkenny and seven of the last eight meetings with Brian Cody’s men since September 2010 Eamon O’Shea was in good spirits at Nowlan Park.
“It was very good, a great game. I enjoy these games as well. To me it was a great game. It wasn’t great to concede five goals, but it was a good game of hurling,” said an always positive Eamon O’Shea.
“I wasn’t surprised with the way we tried to play. We didn’t do well last week (against Waterford), but we were still going really well in training. So, I was expecting us to play really positively and I hope we did. We were a little bit open for the goals. We were trying a few different things; some came off and some didn’t.
“So, collectively they got a run on us about five minutes from the end. They tacked on the points as Kilkenny do; when you get momentum like that it’s very hard to stop the points going over.
“It was the same in the league final in 2009 if you remember. At one stage they powered over points.”
Eamon O’Shea admitted that he was a little disappointed that Tipperary’s attacking play in the opening half only earned his side a six-point interval advantage.
“Yeah, we were a bit disappointed with that. They got two goals in the first half and the second goal really kept them close to us. I wasn’t overly concerned. I thought we were hurling well and I thought we had good resolve. I think that showed there a few times when we came back when they went ahead; it was nip and tuck. There were a few mistakes here and there, but they happen.”
Defensive mistakes certainly contributed to some of the opposition’s goals, but Tipp manager Eamon O’Shea was also eager to highlight how much he admired Kilkenny’s attacking play.
“I wouldn’t take away from their attacking play. It’s hard to see it in real time as to what happened, but I wouldn’t take anything away from their attacking play. I think our goals were cracking goals too,” Eamon O’Shea said.
“The positive thing for us was that we tried to play the way we want to play or towards the way we want to play. I think we’re okay.”
When asked to consider the excellence of Séamus Callanan the Tipperary manager said he was delighted for the Drom & Inch man: “I am really happy for him. He’s a fantastic player and he really epitomizes for me what forward play should be about so I’m really happy for him”.
Meanwhile Eamon O’Shea also praised the efforts of Cathal Barrett at corner-back, half-forward Paddy Murphy and Jason Forde in the full-forward line.
“He (Cathal Barrett) played really well I thought. That was a big test for him and I thought Paddy Murphy and Jason (Forde) did well when they were on the pitch. People forget that somebody like Jason (Forde) is only 19 or 20. It’s a hard job to establish yourself. I would be happy for him in particular and I was happy for Paddy (Murphy) - he stayed in the game although he tired a bit at the end.
“Plenty of positives, but obviously the result isn’t. We came down here and we tried, but that’s the way it goes and that’s sport. The better team won again, but when you are beaten you go home and you try to get better.”
In more positive news on Sunday morning at O’Loughlin Gaels Tipperary beat Kilkenny 3-16 to 1-11 in an under-21 challenge.