Kilsheelan-Kilcash’s Mark Kehoe is hoping that he can help inspire the Tipperary under-21s to an All-Ireland semi-final win over Galway. Photo: Sportsfile
There are no two ways about it: the Tipperary under-21 squad are hurting. Losing the Munster final to Cork is one thing. Defeat is fine. Defeat is all part of learning your trade as an inter-county hurler, but to lose by thirteen points (1-13 to 2-23) is something else entirely. Humiliation is different and it is not something you ever bargain for. Maybe that's the definition of humiliation: it is the breed of a defeat that nobody can deal with. And, that’s exactly what Mark Kehoe and the rest of the Tipperary under-21 hurling panel have been trying to cope with since July 4th.
Happily, the Premier County now enjoy an opportunity to do something about it: Tipperary take on Galway in the Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship semi-final on Wednesday, August 8th at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick (7.30pm). And, according to Mark Kehoe this Premier County panel of players are determined deliver a performance.
“It’s a big day out for us and we can’t wait to put in a big performance. We want to redeem ourselves from the last day and I know that we are all looking forward to it,” the proud Kilsheelan-Kilcash man explained to the Tipperary Star.
“The spirit is very high and we want to make up for the last day. We want to show each other that we can put in a performance and that we can play for each other. We know that we didn’t do ourselves justice the last day. We are just dying to get out there and we are just dying to do it for the Tipp public and for all of the genuine Tipp fans. We know that we were flat the last day and we know that we are not going to make that mistake again.
“At the end of the day the spirit in the group is huge. So, hopefully we can bounce back and get a bit of momentum going. And, once that momentum starts flowing you never know what could happen,” Mark Kehoe explained before reflecting on the reasons behind the Munster final defeat to the Rebels at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
“That was just the second game that I have lost playing for Tipp. It was strange, but in fairness to Cork on the day they were better drilled. They wanted it more. We need to learn from what happened and never go into a game flat again,” Mark Kehoe said before insisting that the focus of the group is to make Tipperary supporters proud.
“We know that Tipp supporters are just waiting for someone to rally behind and we hope that we can be that team,” Mark Kehoe added.
Following the defeat suffered at the hands of Cork the Tipperary under-21 squad had to face up to some uncomfortable truths, but they did so. Led by manager Liam Cahill the entire panel sat down, talked things through and then got back to work.
“We had to do a lot of soul-searching and we had to do a lot of straight talking. Liam (Cahill) and the lads sat us down. We got together as a team. We found out what was wrong and why we were flat. We are trying to fix all of those mistakes from the last day and learn from them. We want to push on now and really give one hundred per cent the next day,” Mark Kehoe said before describing next weekend’s semi-final opponents, Galway, as a “serious team”.
“Galway are a serious team. They have two or three who are on the senior panel and we have seen them play for the Galway seniors. And, they are serious players. So, it will be a big test. They are a big, physical team and we hope that we can match them. We are just dying to get a crack off them,” Mark Kehoe added.
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