Eamon O’Shea hailed the spirit of his Tipperary players following last Sunday’s National Hurling League quarter-final victory over Cork.
Following a run of three successive defeats, Tipp have now won two games on the trot and O’Shea reflected: “I know it didn’t look good from the outside when we were losing matches but the spirit was always very good.
They showed great spirit and dug out a result and did the same today when they had to.
It wasn’t perfect but the nice thing was that they played some nice hurling, the way we want to play the game.
I don’t know how ye see the hurling championship but I’d say there are four or five teams that can win it. It’s still very early in the year.”
O’Shea admitted that the concession of big scores remains a concern, adding: “I don’t have the answer to that right now.
The pleasing thing today was that we were trying to play the ball to the right areas.
We did a lot of work on that on the training pitch over the last two weeks to get us to like the ball again.
When you like the ball you can do anything with it.”
And O’Shea is aiming for further improvement ahead of a semi-final clash with All-Ireland champions Clare in Limerick on April 20.
He said: “We’d want to improve; we’re now in with the big boys.
Clare are ahead of everybody else in my view in terms of what the All-Ireland has done for them.
The evidence so far is that we can’t beat them.
But you should be careful about making forecasts with very little data.”
And a realistic O’Shea admitted that Clare are “way ahead” of Tipperary at this point in time.
He said: “Winning the All-Ireland was fantastic and gave that team confidence.
I know some of them from colleges and this Clare team is a really good team and I think the confidence from winning an All-Ireland does wonders for a team.
They’re ahead of the rest at the minute, I would think.”