Liam Sheedy wants Tipperary hurlers to enjoy themselves while working hard

Eamonn Wynne

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Eamonn Wynne

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ewynne@nationalist.ie

Liam Sheedy

"I want this to be an enjoyable set-up", says new Tipperary hurling manager Liam Sheedy

New Tipperary hurling manager Liam Sheedy wants his team to enjoy themselves and have fun.

Speaking to the local media, he said "I want this to be an enjoyable set-up, where players jump out of the car and come in and enjoy working hard and pushing themselves to the limits. At the end of the day, there's a danger it can become overly-pressurised.

"The three years between 2008-10 (his last spell in charge) were the best three years of my life, and I certainly enjoyed every minute of it.

"I'm going to do everything I can to try and ensure we have a really enjoyable set-up. That we work hard while we're in there, that we enjoy what we do and there's a bit of fun attached to it".

Is it true that if you're not having fun it's going to work?

"I'm a big believer in that. People talk about crisis and pressure and all that. If I was above in Crumlin (hospital) with one of my children and they were on the flat of their backs not knowing had they a future, that's crisis and that's pressure".

The Portoe man was something of a surprise choice when it was announced that he was returning to the fold, after he initially appeared to rule himself out of contention.

Explaining his change of heart, he said "I did come late to the table because I would have met the guys here in the Abbey Court Hotel (in Nenagh) at the start of the process and I had ruled it out. But as the weeks went by it would not go away from me and there was that burning desire, asking could I do it.

“Obviously, I am back in Munster (as provincial director with Bank of Ireland) for the last 18 months and I spend a lot of time in the province – Cork isn't bad and a lot of the time I'm here in Tipp. It is better than being inside the M50 and I have been here so I rang back late and asked if it is gone", he said, adding that he had been given the go-ahead in work to put his name forward. 

"I probably haven't felt as good in years as I have in the last few days since I made the decision.I have been buzzing", he said, adding that the person who gave him "the greatest push" to return was outgoing manager Michael Ryan.

"Ever since I left Tipp I have been with Portroe and the camogie team and the U-21s. I spent time in Antrim and got to spend time on the inside of the dressing room, and there is something special about that.

“I have been with various clubs so it's not as if I have been away from the game .Obviously every Sunday I have been talking about the game (as an analyst on The Sunday Game), so I still had my eye in. 

"My gut said, I am heading into my late forties now and I am getting a chance to manage my own county again and that's not an opportunity that a lot of people get. To me it is one of the best jobs in the country and here I am potentially turning it down.

“I spend a lot of time in the car and that gives you a lot of mind time where you are talking to yourself and it kept coming back to me, saying 'are you mad'.

Looking ahead to the county's prospects for next year, he says "there is really good optimism there, with people trying to figure out what 2019 could bring. And I am trying to manage expectations as well because 2010 is a long time ago and it took us three years to get to the summit the last time around. 

"It's not as though you can just go in and flick a switch. It doesn't work like that”.

(Read the full interview with Liam Sheedy in this week’s print edition of The Nationalist).