Dear Editor, Please permit me to share a number of observations and suggestions in the wake of Tipp’s recent All-Ireland Senior semi-final collapse.
There has been a strong lingering suspicion that all has not been well with the Tipp. Senior set up for the past year, what with the constant stories of disunity and dissatisfaction in the camp. When this is taken into consideration, together with the continuous high level of scores conceded in both League and Championship games, it was inevitable that a heavy defeat was on the cards sooner or later, especially against a team of Kilkenny’s calibre.
Mention of Kilkenny brings to mind the harsh reality that we’ve had 2 League and 2 Championship games against them under new management in the past 2 years, and it seems nothing has been learned either by them or the players in developing a simple, direct and fast form of play to counteract all their strengths, each performance has been considerably poorer than the previous one.
Furthermore, our record against them in past 11 seasons is truly abysmal. We’ve lost 2 All-Ireland Senior finals, 3 semi-finals, including another hammering in 2003. They’ve beaten us in 2 National League finals, in 2003 and 2009. We’ve lost to them in 3, U/21 finals, receiving a total drubbing in 2004 to go with the defeats in 2006 and 2008. At Minor level they destroyed Tipp. in the 2002 final and defeated us in 3 semi-finals. By contrast, all Tipp. have to show is 1 All-Ireland Senior triumph and 2 Minor semi-final wins against them in 11 years.
In reality, our senior team is over rated by many, both inside and outside the County and I refer here more to hard graft than to undoubted skill levels. It must be remembered, too, that with all the Munster teams improving rapidly, not to mention Dublin and Galways’ progress in Leinster, our chances of winning further provincial, let alone All-Ireland titles could fast diminish unless there is a sea change in attitude.
It is clear also that there must be a return to a direct and quick style of hurling, devoid of complicated and counter productive tactics. This point was well made by Len Gaynor on Tipp FM “Take Your Point” programme on the night after the game. The next management team, whoever they are, must disband this unnatural, chess board style of play which is doomed to failure.
On a personal level, I’ve much sympathy for Lar Corbett, both for the wholly unnatural role assigned to him and more so for all the lewd jokes and jibes he’s had to endure since the game. No person should have their dignity trampled on in this way or any other.
Finally, I would urge Lar to stay on, for one more year at least, to renew himself on a personal level as well as a hurler. In the shorter term, Lar and every other club player should give of themselves 100% to winning the County final, and whichever of the contenders prevails, a huge bid for provincial honours, and maybe more, should be launched.