Liam Sheedy, the retired Tipperary senior hurling manager, is the Tipperary Association Dublin’s choice for Tipperary Person of the year for 2010.
The Portroe man along with his excellent management team led Tipperary to the holy grail of hurling in 2010 when the premier county came out on top of the great Kilkenny team who were seeking to create history and win 5 in a row All-Ireland senior hurling titles.
Sheedy represented Tipperary in hurling in all grades from under 16 in the 1980s to 2000. He holds a Munster Minor medal (1987), two Under-21 Munster titles, an All-Ireland title at Under-21 in 1989, two All-Ireland Junior tiles (1989 & 1991), a Nation League medal (1999) and was a member of the Tipperary team beaten in the 1997 All-Ireland by Clare.
The highlight of his club hurling came in 1990 when he won a County Intermediate hurling title with his native Portroe.
Shortly after his retirement from playing, Sheedy became involved in management, thus, ensuring he was never far away from the game he loves – Tipperary hurling. In 2000 he took charge of the Tipperary Intermediate team and went on to win the Munster and All-ireland Championships.
He managed the Tipperary Minors in 2005 and 2006 winning the All-ireland in 2006 having come through the “back door” after defeat by Cork in the Munster Championship.
On the retirement of Michael “Babs” Keating he, along with Eamonn O’Shea and Michael Ryan, took over as manager of the senior team in September 2007. He had tremendous first season coming through the Waterford Crystal Cup, the National Hurling League undefeated. As winner of both competitions confidence was high and after breaking the Park Ui Chaoimh “hoodoo”, Tipperary went on to win the 2008 Munster Championship, defeating Clare in the final. However, Tipperary lost that year’s All-Ireland Semi-final to a “fired up” Waterford.
In 2009, under Sheedy’s stewardship, Tipperary again won the Munster final and went on to meet Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final. After one of the best finals in memory Tipp lost to the “Cats” but with a little luck the day could have been Tipps. Certainly Liam Sheedy and his management team did everything right and possible on the day.
Tipperary started the 2010 hurling championship with a defeat to Cork and the team had to take the “backdoor” route, which they came through successfully. Galway stood were the opponents in the Quarter-final and after a heart stopping last few minutes Tipp, through a late Lar Corbett point, pulled the game out of the fire to reach the Semi-final where Waterford were once again the opponents. After a great performance Tipp won the day and faced Kilkenny in the final - a repeat of the 2009 final.
The game surpassed the 2009 final in terms of standard, excitement, commitment and all that is good in the game of hurling. It is easy to understand that many Tipperary people rated the final win by Tipperary as the best but even outside of the county many hurling and sports people lauded the Tipperary victory, which prevented Kilkenny from winning the five in a row. Tipp’s 26th All-Ireland was on the secured.
The path to victory in 2010 was not an easy one. It took a huge effort and commitment above the call of duty form the County Board, the team management and players. The entire exercise was a team effort, so many strands, together with so many different talents, working with one dedicated purpose. To achieve what was achieved on September 5th last required that each jig saw piece be slotted in perfectly.
The man responsible for bringing all these strands together, for ensuring that those who wore the blue and gold on that memorable afternoon were a credit not only to Tipperary, but to the great name of hurling was Liam Sheedy.
There is no doubt that Liam Sheedy achieved something very special in 2010. The joy, the ecstasy, the exhilaration – whatever words are used could not describe the sense of happiness, pride and satisfaction enjoyed by all Tipperary people on the 5th of September last year. Our thanks and appreciation goes to Liam Sheedy and his management team. Sheedy, the Sports Manager of the Year 2010, is well deserving of the Tipperary Person of the Year for 2010.
The announcement of the award was made at a reception on Monday night in the Palace bar, Dublin, which was kindly sponsored by Diageo (Ireland) Ltd