”We definitely didn’t think we would come up here and win by 5 goals.”
That was the reaction of Tipperary minor hurling Manager Liam Cahill immediately after he had watched his side score an emphatic victory over Galway in Sunday's minor hurling semi-final.
“We came up ready to hurl and go out about our business the way we’ve worked on the training field and there were patches of it that came off. There were patches of our play today that were average as well. Shooting ten wides in the first half would be a massive concern. A lot of our decision-making was poor as well, and I’m just putting it down maybe to the majority of the players getting their first run out at Croke Park. They would improve a good bit from that.
Galway opted to play an extra defender for the game and it seemed to backfire greatly on them. But, did the move surprise the Tipperary lads?
“I didn’t know that Galway would come with a sweeper but I had predicted that they might. It worked out pretty well for them last year because they came through the championship the whole way without conceding a goal until the last two minutes of the All-Ireland final.
“It’s like anything, if it’s working why change it? And they set up the way we thought they would. We worked hard and the only way to beat a sweeper is to have everybody up for it and have your workrate through the roof with lots of pace around to cover ground. Thankfully it worked out,” he said.
When it was put to him that Tipp had taken their goals very well, Liam said that Tipperary are fortunate to have a lot of guys with the 'killer instinct' and who like to go for the chance when they get it.
“ I like to see that in a good forward, if he gets a half chance I love to see the guy that looks for the black spot and who’s clinical and decisive in what he’s doing. And in fairness that’s been something we’ve worked on a lot in training, and that’s credit as well to Michael Bevans our coach and the work he has done with the whole panel.”
Liam must have been pleased with the way everyone kept working hard to the final whistle, even though they were well ahead “I said it during the week, we’re still finding our best team. This panel is really, really competitive and it’s the manager’s pleasure every night to come to training and see everybody gunning to make the starting 15 and the 24. But it’s really exciting too when you see guys that will put their best foot forward, in trying to make the team but also for the good of the team as well. There’s no individuals, that’s what we’re trying to build on and this is what we’re trying to do is to prepare these guys for the future.
“I’m delighted and very honoured to be in the job and I’m very proud of these players no matter what happens in three weeks time (in the final against Limerick). They’ve come a long way since losing against Waterford in the first round of the Munster Championship – Yeah, I said that you learn a lot as a player and a manager from defeat. We were fortunate to get a second chance and we’ve come a hard road.
“That’s credit to the players as well - we only support them and put the things in place that give them the best chance to perform. They still have to go out and do it between the lines and I’m delighted that these lads are so honest and they’re buying into everything. I know it’s no guarantee of success,” he said.
“I’m delighted that this particular group were fully focused on playing hurling and were fully energetic and mad to do what we asked them to do today. We’ll be looking for a performance again in the final and if the performance is good enough and we win the All-Ireland, great and if the performance isn’t there we’ll say fair play to Limerick and the best of luck to them,” Liam said.