TIPPERARY senior hurling manager Eamon O’Shea spoke most impressively at the Horse and Jockey last Wednesday (January 16) at the Tipperary Supporters club 2013 membership launch.
O’Shea spoke ‘off the cuff’ for over 16 minutes and addressed a wide range of topics as supporters gathered in the Derrynaflan theatre hung to his every word.
O’Shea warned that any player stepping out of line while he’s in charge will suffer the consequences.
The Kilruane MacDonagh’s clubman is eager to stamp his mark on the Premier County from the outset and he stated that indiscipline off the field of play would not be tolerated.
O’Shea revealed that Tipp’s squad members have been reminded of their responsibilities as ambassadors for the county.
Leading Premier County board officials have already admitted that indiscipline within the squad was an issue last year.
But O’Shea has vowed that the problem won’t continue under his watch.
He explained: “As well as the work ethic and working hard for each other, there’s a sense of belonging. And with that comes discipline both on and off the field. We believe that you can’t be disciplined on the field if you’re not disciplined off the field. Players are now well aware of that.
“I think it’s well documented that if that’s not the case, there will be consequences. There has to be consequences when you’re indisciplined – and there will be. But I would have to say that every player we have on that panel has given nothing but 100 per cent over the last three months.”
O’Shea has already restored the feelgood factor to Tipperary hurling and he’s already looking further down the road at a potential All-Ireland final date on September 9.
Like all of the game’s top managers, the second Sunday in September is a date he’s etched in the back of his mind.
But O’Shea is aware of the challenges that lie ahead and admits that the road back to the top will not be easy.
He said: “I’m coming back after two years out and one of the things that you have to realise quickly is that things don’t stay the same.
“We’ve got to get back, and the players are well aware of this, to the key on what our success is going to be built upon, which is hard work and support for each other. Gameplans come after that, and the way we want to play.”
O’Shea added: “How far that takes us is another thing. My plan ends on September 9 so you can see where my expectations are. But we have to get back to high work rate, high sense of support for each other. One of the reasons that I wanted to come back very strongly was because I believe that the senior team is simply a representation of everything that’s going on inside the county. They are of the supporters, and of the clubs.”
O’Shea has also promised a strong assault on the Allianz National Hurling League – a competition that Tipp have not won since O’Shea was coach in 2008.
He reflected: “We have Cork, Kilkenny and Galway (in first three games). Looking at form, two of those teams are ahead of us in the pecking order at the minute. So it will be a real struggle to get something but I believe we’ll get something from those games.
“And we’ll certainly get a performance when we play. Sometimes you can’t predict the result but you’ll get a performance.
“Our aim, to be honest with you, is to win the League, to go as far as we can in the League. When we’re in it, we can win it. You might say we’re down a few players but I don’t even think about the players we’re missing. I think we’re missing four or five at the minute because of club but when you’re not there, other fellas come in. That’s the way sport is.
“There are no excuses when Tipperary play. Nobody’s looking over their shoulder and saying we should have had this, that or the other. We’re going out to win the League and we’ll take every game after that. Some days you don’t always win matches – some days things go against you but what I can predict with certainty is that when we play, there will be a certain something about us. If there isn’t, I haven’t done my job properly and you take the consequences.”