â€œHurlingâ€™s still alive and well in Tipperary, Thereâ€™s still life in us, donâ€™t ever write us offâ€.
That was the reaction of Tipperary manager Ken Hogan after his team had beaten Cork by 15 points in last weekâ€™s semi-final to reach the Munster U-21 Hurling Championship Final, where theyâ€™ll meet Clare on Wednesday, August 7, writes Eamonn Wynne.
â€œAs Tipperary people weâ€™re disappointed with the way things have come around (with the defeats of the Seniors and Minors). Thereâ€™s a lot of criticism there, questioning peopleâ€™s heart and things like that. We were very conscious going out on the pitch today that we were representing Tipperary and we still have an awful lot of pride in our jersey and also we have the heart.
Weâ€™re just absolutely thrilled. The lads really deserved it, theyâ€™ve worked very hard, theyâ€™re a very honest group. When Cork came at us after scoring the goal (early in the second half), we came back really strong and worked hardâ€.
There was no panic in the Tipp camp after Cork cut their 10-point lead to 4 points by the interval.
â€œEmotions canâ€™t take over at half time. Youâ€™ve got to look at the game as calmly as possible. We told the lads theyâ€™d been playing very well and we just had to pick that up again, get the momentum going again and dictate the game. Cork dictated the last 5 or 6 minutes before half-time.
We went out in the second half and made a couple of substitutions, those lads also played their part. Thereâ€™s no point having guys on a training panel, theyâ€™re there to come in and play. I could see guys in the stand who were disappointed that they didnâ€™t get in, or maybe warmed up and didnâ€™t get inâ€, said Ken, stressing the need to â€œkeep that hunger going and desire to work towards our goal.
Weâ€™re back in the Munster Final but thereâ€™s no championship won, no silverware. A lot of those guys have played Minor and U-21 and have no medals, and weâ€™re striving for success. You have to look to the future and hopefully these guys have a future with Tipperaryâ€.