County Board secretary Timmy Floyd has declared his faith that the Tipperary senior hurlers are good enough to win back the Munster and All-Ireland titles in 2014.
On Wednesday, December 11th the Tipperary GAA Convention will be hosted at the Sarsfield Centre in Thurles.
The Tipperary senior hurlers lost both of their championship outings in 2013, but, according to secretary Timmy Floyd’s report to convention, if the levels of discipline, work rate and intensity improve the Premier could challenge once more on the national stage. Indeed, Timmy Floyd has given manager Eamon O’Shea his full backing.
Reflecting on 2013 Floyd warns that the Tipperary senior hurlers now find themselves lagging behind All-Ireland champions Clare who have “raised the bar to a new level of class, pace, athleticism and power”.
“Tipperary need not look too far to re-discover the flair that made us champions in 2010,” reports Timmy Floyd.
“Eamon O’Shea believes in creativity and expression and marrying these elements with massive physicality and work rate is normal to any system. Work rate is as much about turnovers as about scoring. All teams now have analysts on the line taking notes on hooks, blocks, winning puck-outs, but most importantly on turnovers. All the aforementioned are about work rate,” writes Timmy Floyd.
Floyd’s report reveals that in the 2010 All-Ireland final Tipperary won the turnover battle against Kilkenny 15-12, but in 2011 lost that same battle 3-18.
“Tipperary must develop this intensity and work rate if we are to succeed and it must be consistent in every game,” insists Timmy Floyd.
“We must only select players who have the discipline, commitment and loyalty to see it through from start to finish. I believe we have the players to fulfil this mission and I also believe we have the management to lead it.”
In his report to convention Timmy Floyd highlights the achievement of Michael Ryan’s intermediate hurling team who won back-to-back All-Ireland titles in 2013.
“You could hardly envisage we would relinquish both our Munster minor titles and a new Tipperary intermediate hurling team would retain both their titles and save our blushes following six trophies coming to the county in 2012,” Timmy Floyd reports.
In encouraging news, following four years of consecutive losses, it appears likely that the County Board may be in a position to declare a surplus at Wednesday night’s convention. Timmy Floyd’s report reveals that gate receipts increased by €140,000 to over €380,000 in 2013 (a €25 charge incurred on all match passes, for example, generated an additional €18,000). Floyd cites the “exit of favourites Drom & Inch and Thurles Sarsfields early in the senior hurling championship opened up the championship and the freshness of new teams with the prospect of new county champions brought a sense of excitement and anticipation”.
Sadly, Timmy Floyd’s report also features a section which highlights the effect emigration is having on the county’s playing population - over the past five years (2008-13), for example, approximately 639 players have left their clubs with just 40 per cent of that figure now playing and just 20 per cent have returning to Ireland. It is shocking to note that clubs like Burgess and Cappawhite have lost 30 and 36 players respectively.
Timmy Floyd also takes some time to highlight the achievement of Loughmore-Castleiney who won both the football and hurling county titles in 2013.
In conclusion Timmy Floyd writes: “Finally our big focus once again will be on our senior hurlers as they put behind them the disappointments of 2013. My wish here is that we prepare to the maximum and perform with a consistency in every game. If that happens then I think we are well capable of winning Munster and All-Ireland titles”.
In all 17 motions are down for discussion at next Wednesday night’s convention.
Some of the more interesting motions include that of Thurles Sarsfields who request that players on inter-county panels are made available to train with their clubs for a period of five days prior to playing adult club championship games.
Another motion of note comes from the Moyle Rovers club: that minor players participate in no more than one match in any 24-hour period to cover challenge and championship game matches. Moyle Rovers have also proposed that “no under-16 player be allowed on any inter-county minor panel”.
Leading officers like Sean Nugent (chairman), Michael Bourke (vice-chairman), Tom Maher (assistant secretary), Eamon Buckley (treasurer) and Jimmy Minogue (development officer) will be returned to their positions en masse, but there will be a couple of notable changes in the make up of the Tipperary County Board.
Indeed, a vote will take place for the position of assistant treasurer. John O’Donovan (Thurles Gaels) has completed his five-year term in role with Catherine Gleeson (Kildangan) and Michael Power (Newcastle) both nominated for the position.
Meanwhile Ger Ryan (Templederry) has completed his five-year term as PRO. Jonathan Cullen (Loughmore-Castleiney), Ed Donnelly (Moycarkey-Borris), Liam Hogan (Shannon Rovers) and John Smyth (Durlas Óg) were all nominated for the role, but has since withdrawn leaving Andy Fogarty (Thurles Sarsfields) the sole nominee.