The mind games in advance of the September 4 All Ireland final did not take long to get off the ground following Tipperary’s unimpressive performance against Dublin on Sunday.
Tipperary’s narrow victory should have been enough to dampen expectations but manager Declan Ryan had to spell it out, saying Tipperary would probably be in the opposite position of the one they were in coming into the Dublin game.
“It is probably opposite to the way that we came into this game but I don’t think Kilkenny will be too worried about anything they saw,” said the Tipp manager.
“It was a dour enough game at times, there were a lot of physical exchanges out there on both sides. There were a good number of frees scored. I think both teams, Kilkenny and Tipp, have a good bit to do over the next two weeks.” The manager said that all the talk of a Tipperary-Kilkenny final might have got to the panel despite all that was done to prevent such a thing from happening.
“We were not talking about anything but the Dublin game within the camp. Outside the camp there would be a lot of talk. Maybe that can have some influence. I don’t think that you can take anything away from Dublin and from their attitude and performance. Their commitment to the game was savage and they are going to be around for a while.”
He did not want to point to the five-week lay-off his team had since their emphatic victory over Waterford in the Munster Final as a reason why his team were so sluggish on the day.
“We were saying before the game that we thought it was a positive, it gave us a few days to enjoy the Munster final and it gave us enough time to forget about it and prepare for the semi-final. From that point of view we did not look as sharp as we were going into the Munster final. But then you are playing at a higher level.
“The longer the year goes on, the higher the level you are playing and that proved to be the case.”
The Clonoulty Rossmore man was pleased with how his players responded to the Dublin tactics. And was thrilled with the reduction in the number of frees they gave away compared to the Munster final.
“Dublin set up defensively and they had an extra man at the back for a lot of the game.
“The lads handled it very well, they were very mature about how they went about their business.
The manager also availed of the occasion to pay tribute to goalie Brendan Cummins who broke Christy Ring’s record number of championship appearances.
“It is phenomenal and he is one of the fittest guys playing out there.
“It is just an incredible achievement, the commitment, the time and the effort.
“He is a married man now with kids. It’s incredible,” said Ryan.