Since Tipperary's elimination from the hurling championship many things have been said and written in the local and national media. While this is not the time for any knee-jerk reaction, I do expect that the team management and players will discuss and reflect on various issues over the next few months and may I, as a Tipp supporter of long standing, take the opportunity to express some views.
It is possible in 2018 the team management underestimated the implication of the new round robin group system as it's now clear all matches in such a competitive group are like Munster finals. As a follower of other sports where group stages apply, it's clear the first match is vital, lose it and you are on the back foot and playing catch-up under pressure. In other words the game v Limerick in 2018 was the crucial game from which we never recovered.
Our eight league games should have been used to ensure we had our best and most settled team for Limerick. Trial and error should have stopped after four or five league games, but, instead, when the league finished very few knew one line of the team and equally as important the spine. Did the management think they could continue in their efforts to find new players in the first and second round robin games? I think a harsh lesson has been learned in this area.
This year is gone, next year we will likely have Clare in Ennis, Cork in Cork, Waterford and Limerick in Thurles, all huge challenges, it's vital we hit the ground running in the first game and get a win.
While the management and players will discuss various issues, I believe it's important all parties forensically examine all aspects of team training, match preparations and performance.
The management must discuss in detail the following: (1) the team's physical training, (2) the team's coaching (skills, touch etc), (3) match preparations to include tactics and game plans best suited to the players available, (4) pre-match analysis of the opposing team, (5) is the manager satisfied with the support and advice received from the back room team, especially the selectors? (6) is the team management satisfied that all of the above issues were ten out of ten? (7) did the management at any stage during the last eighteen months tolerate and leave in the panel any player (or players) who didn't give the required commitment to training, to do so would be disrespectful to the other players and the Tipp supporters.
Likewise the players must individually consider did they all give a full commitment and their support to the management and their colleagues.
Did they tolerate and accept any player not giving every effort to each the required standard?
Were they satisfied with the training, match preparations to include tactics and a suitable game plan? Did discussions ever take place on these issues between management and players?
I accept that management must manage, but if players are not satisfied that everything is ten out of ten, they need to speak up honestly and with respect.
My final wish is that all parties (management and players) will have honest and meaningful discussion which I accept may not be easy and Tipp come back strong in 2019.