Proud Liam Cahill signs off on his successful term as Tipperary minor manager

Brian McDonnell

Reporter:

Brian McDonnell

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bmcdonnell@tipperarystar.ie

Proud Liam Cahill signs off on his successful term as Tipperary minor manager

Manager Liam Cahill was joined on the Tipperary minor hurling management team by John Sheedy, Seán Corbett, TJ Ryan and Michael Bevans.

A proud Liam Cahill signed off on his four-year term as Tipperary minor hurling manager at Páirc Uí Rinn, Cork on Tuesday evening when his determined side lost out narrowly in another thrilling Electric Ireland Munster Minor Hurling Championship clash with the Premier County’s age-old rivals (2-19 to 2-22).

Tipperary drew with Cork (2-18 to 1-21) after extra-time in Semple Stadium, Thurles on Thursday, June 29th before losing out to the Rebels in a replay on Monday, July 3rd.

The replay defeat suffered at the hands of Cork brought the tenure of manager Liam Cahill to a natural end - in his four years in charge the Ballingarry man guided the Tipperary minor hurling team to two provincial crowns (2015 & 2016) and an All-Ireland title (2-16). Indeed, Cahill’s time at the helm included sixteen championship games in total, featuring ten wins, one draw and five defeats.

“My tenure is up anyway - I don’t want to out-stay my welcome,” Liam Cahill explained in the wake of the defeat to Cork on Monday evening.

“To be honest I really, really enjoyed it and I had a lot of good people around me to help me in getting to where we got to. I suppose we are after winning two Munster titles, we were beaten in the All-Ireland (final) in 2015, we won it last year (2016) and I hope that tonight we were beaten by the eventual All-Ireland champions. I really do because it would be a real tribute to this Tipperary minor team to see Cork go on and win the All-Ireland - then they would really know how much this management team thinks of them,” the Ballingarry man said.

A determination to learn and develop has characterised Liam Cahill’s tenure as manager of the Tipperary minor hurling team. In his first year in charge (2014) Tipperary lost consecutive games to Limerick (nine points) and Clare (fourteen points), but Cahill and his management team re-grouped. In 2015 Tipperary were crowned provincial champions and although the Premier County missed out on the Irish Press Cup Liam Cahill inspired his players to the 2016 All-Ireland title.

"It was a baptism of fire for me to be honest in the first year (2014) - I would have no qualms about saying that because that particular crop of players probably didn't get the preparation they needed from me and I had to learn quick,” Liam Cahill explained.

“And, I thank the Tipp County Board and the Tipp people for sticking with me - to give me that chance to get back and get a team around me that could do a job and to do what we were asked to do. And, that was to develop the next crop of Tipperary senior hurlers. There is no bigger honour that could be bestowed on anyone - I loved the honour of being responsible for developing these young men for Tipperary; I really did. It is something that I have been very proud to do and that I have been honoured to do. I just hope that these boys go on to do something very special.”

MICHAEL BEVANS

Liam Cahill was joined on the management team by selectors John Sheedy (Portroe), Seán Corbett (Boherlahan-Dualla) and TJ Ryan (Clonoulty-Rossmore). And, while Cahill was grateful to every member of his management team he singled out the influence and contribution of coach Michael Bevans, the highly-regarded Toomevara man, to the project.

“I am very honoured and proud to have a man like Mikey Bevans with me as well as all of the management team. Mikey's stamp is stamped all over this team and has been for the last three years with me,” Liam Cahill explained.

“Michael Bevans is a man that is definitely one of the best up-and-coming coaches in the country not alone in the county. He brings the attributes that he had himself as a player on that great Toomevara team down through the years. What you saw out there tonight was a never-give-up attitude - that standard is set high and it is set early when these young men come in to us and put up their hand to play for Tipperary.

“I think they paid us back in abundance tonight as players - they adhered to everything that we asked them to do all year and tonight they really showed their metal to try and win that match when things were going against them. And, I would say that about the last three minor teams that we have had as well. I hope that as a management team - John, TJ, Sean, Mikey and myself - we have helped many players that can progress and develop to play senior hurling for Tipperary,” Liam Cahill said.

"The future is very bright here in Tipperary. We must remember that. We have a lot of good young players coming through and the thing is to back them - now they will take time, but they will come. We have athletes and we have players of pace that can get around the field. And, we have a bit of fire back again in Tipperary. Hopefully, that will ignite again on Saturday against Dublin and the seniors will kick on and show us what they are capable of doing as well because we need that,” the Ballingarry man added.

BATTLING REPLAY DEFEAT

On Thursday night Tipperary and Cork drew after extra-time (2-18 to 1-21) while Liam Cahill’s tigerish team lost out to Cork in a thrilling Electric Ireland Munster Minor Hurling Championship semi-final replay at Páirc Uí Rinn on Monday evening - although out-gunned from a talent perspective the Premier County gave it everything and very nearly caught the Rebels at the death (2-19 to 2-22).

Although they lost to Cork in front of a partisan and 8,142-strong crowd the performance of the Tipperary lads represented a fitting tribute to the blue and gold jersey. Against a superb Cork team, which will perhaps go down as one of the Rebels’ greatest-ever, Tipp shipped 2-5 without reply in a devastating eight-minute spell to trail by eight as early as the 13th minute (0-4 to 2-6). Cork were threatening to cut loose with twenty minutes to play when leading by eleven points (0-12 to 2-17), but the Tipperary lads refused to give in. Indeed, in a stirring final quarter Liam Cahill’s men, thanks to goals from Cathal Bourke and Kevin McCarthy, reeled Cork in and trailed by two points in injury time when a Jake Morris point left one it.

To their credit Cork saw out this encounter with late efforts from man of the match Brian Turnbull and Dáire Connery (free). But the manner in which the Cork lads wildly celebrated this victory represented a fitting compliment to a Tipperary team who gave this contest everything they had.

“We are really proud of them - what more can you say. We will look back at it and we will have regrets from Thurles last Thursday night that we didn't finish the job. We were six points up mid-way through the second half and, look, they are the little things that haunt you. I have asked these players to learn from that. And, that's what it is about - this is about developing these men and playing in cauldrons like down here in a packed Páirc Uí Rinn tonight. Hopefully, that will improve them tonight and help them to become better players at under-21 and senior level. But, again, when you get a Cork team on the back foot you have to put them away and we just didn't last Thursday night. And, tonight we were chasing the game all night,” Liam Cahill explained.

“We will have to keep our finger on the pulse and keep developing players. We just have to keep doing that because, as you can see from tonight, Cork are coming - Cork are back in the game big time and we have to be ready. We have to have fellas who are ready to step up for (senior hurling manager) Michael Ryan very, very quickly because, as he said himself, there are plenty of places up for grabs. So, we have to have young fellas coming through to fill those slots,” Liam Cahill added.

DENIS RING

The Cork set-up, led by manager Denis Ring, were absolutely thrilled with Monday evening’s three-point replay win over Tipperary (2-22 to 2-19). The Rebels were, of course, motivated by last year’s experience against the Premier County - in the 2016 semi-final Cork were hurling well against Tipperary at Páirc Uí Rinn before Liam Cahill’s men out-scored their opponents 0-14 to 0-3 from the 33rd minute onwards to win 0-23 to 1-15. Indeed, following the game Cork manager Denis Ring described the second half performance of his side as a “terrible collapse”.

There was no collapse on this occasion, however, and Denis Ring’s men clung on in the end for a deserved victory against a determined Tipperary team.

“We are delighted with it. It was a fantastic performance by our lads - we came back from the dead a couple of times last Thursday night and these lads have shown all year that they have fantastic spirit. Nobody was going to take this match away from them. We sat down after the match the other night and we had analysis ready for them at eleven o'clock the following morning. By one o'clock we knew what we were going to do - we had a plan for this game and in fairness to the lads they stuck to that plan. We were well organised, we were efficient and the players were clinical in terms of what they had to do. It is fantastic, but that means nothing now - it is all about Clare now for us,” Cork minor manager Denis Ring explained as his thoughts turned to the challenge of facing the Banner in the Munster final on Sunday, July 9th.

And, Cork came close to missing out on the Rebels’ first appearance in a provincial minor final in nine years (2008) - Tipperary reduced the home side’s lead to a single point in a dramatic finish at Páirc Uí Rinn, but Denis Ring’s men clung on and deservedly booked their place in the decider.

"The two games were the same. There was nothing in it right until the very end. But I have to say that even at the very end, we won ball in our defence, we came out and we used the ball very positively. Even when we were under all that savage pressure when they (Tipperary) brought it down to a point we showed a lot of composure to come back and win it," Denis Ring explained to the Tipperary Star.

Ring, a renowned and experienced coach of hurling, was eager to highlight the contribution man marker Ger Millerick made to the contest - this semi-final replay featured plenty of pyrotechnics in terms of scores and explosive passages of hurling, but Millerick exacted a key influence on this clash between Cork and Tipperary. Indeed, Millerick was sent to man mark Tipp’s Paddy Cadell.

"I suppose the key thing was Paddy Cadell - the last day he bossed the game with his performance. We got our match-ups right and Ger Millerick did a terrific job like he also did on Jake Morris in the first game,” Fermoy’s Denis Ring explained.

“It is fantastic when you can get fellas who are willing to sacrifice their own game and be disciplined for the good of the team. The last fella I had who was as good as that at that was Brian Murphy from Bride Rovers. And, this fella is like that too. I would love if they could make a few more of him - there are a few there, but I would love to have a few more."

There is simply no getting away from the fact that Cork hurling is on the rise thanks in no small part to the Rebel Óg initiative and the efforts of men like John Considine at underage level. This Cork team have been groomed to lead the hurling renaissance on Leeside. Indeed, Denis Ring said the team were “in a different league” to anything he had experienced previously.

"These guys, to be honest with you, are in a different league,” Denis Ring agreed.

“And, I can tell you that from being involved with Cork for a long number of years. These lads are in a different league. There is a very different atmosphere in Cork hurling from what I can see during the last couple of years. Everyone is putting the shoulder to the wheel now and there is great comradery.”

Cork have not appeared in nor won a Munster minor hurling final since 2008, but it appears as if the Rebels are poised to do something drastic about that prevailing pattern.

LIAM CAHILL’S RECORD AS MINOR MANAGER

2017
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Quarter-Final
Tipperary 4-15 Limerick 2-18
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Semi-Final
Tipperary 2-18 Cork 1-21
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Semi-Final Replay
Tipperary 2-19 Cork 2-22

2016
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Play-Off
Tipperary 1-17 Waterford 1-20
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Play-Off
Tipperary 2-15 Clare 0-12
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Semi-Final
Tipperary 0-23 Cork 1-15
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Final
Tipperary 1-24 Limerick 0-10
All-Ireland Minor Hurling
Championship Semi-Final
Tipperary 7-12 Galway 2-12
All-Ireland Minor Hurling
Championship Final
Tipperary 1-21 Limerick 0-17

2015
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Quarter-Final
Tipperary 1-14 Waterford 0-16
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Semi-Final
Tipperary 1-15 Clare 1-11
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Final
Tipperary 0-20 Limerick 0-17
All-Ireland Minor Hurling
Championship Semi-Final
Tipperary 2-17 Dublin 1-15
All-Ireland Minor Hurling
Championship Final
Tipperary 1-16 Galway 4-13

2014
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Quarter-Final
Tipperary 2-11 Limerick 3-17
Munster Minor Hurling
Championship Play-Off
Tipperary 0-12 Clare 1-23