Tipperary’s hurlers have struck optimistic and defiant notes in the wake of last weekend’s All-Ireland Final defeat by Kilkenny.
The team’s bid to win successive All-Ireland titles for the county for the first time since 1965 was dashed when they lost Sunday’s final by 4 points.
But plans are already being made for an assault on next year’s championship.
Supporters who turned out in the rain to welcome the team home to Thurles on Monday night were told by captain Eoin Kelly that there are many positives days ahead for Tipperary hurling.
“The hurt will drive us on and the age profile of this panel is right. We have the most positive and professional backroom team in the country and we will get it right next year,” he stated to loud cheers.
Eoin, who was trying to become the first Tipperary man to lift the McCarthy Cup two years running, said at the post-match banquet at the Burlington Hotel on Sunday night that the players would be the first to admit that their performance wasn’t good enough.
But he added, “We will remain positive, we will knuckle down and we will be back”.
Speaking in Thurles on Monday night manager Declan Ryan said “unfortunately we don’t have the one guest we wanted with us – the Liam McCarthy Cup. I am very proud of our players and how hard they worked this year and how much pride they have shown in the blue and gold jersey. They showed great character and would you believe that they put in over 110 collective training sessions since January 13th.
That’s phenomenal and it is my hope now that the pain will drive us all forward to help bring back the McCarthy Cup again next year,” he said.
Despite Sunday’s defeat the county still has a chance to win an All-Ireland this season, when the Minor footballers take on Dublin in the All-Ireland Final on Sunday week, September 18.