Tipperary star Seamus Callanan reflects on Sunday’s heavy defeat to Limerick in the Munster SHC semi-final, and insists that the Premier play their best hurling when it’s knockout championship.
BY SHANE STAPLETON
Seamus Callanan believe that Tipperary are at their best when their backs are to the wall.
After last Sunday’s heavy Munster SHC semi-final defeat to Limerick, the Premier were dumped into the qualifiers but have this weekend off after receiving a bye.
Liam Sheedy’s brigade will be interested spectators as Dublin face Cork and Laois battle Clare, with the winners going into the pot alongside Tipp and Wexford.
The manner of the defeat to the Treaty will have rocked the panel, but last year they recovered from a 12-point defeat to the same opposition to win the All-Ireland title.
Questions remain as to Tipp’s ability to match up with Limerick’s physicality, of whether the Premier can retain an All-Ireland, and if the team has been on the road for too long.
“It’s knockout now but I do believe Tipperary hurl their best when it’s knockout,” says Callanan.
“Knockout brings a new dimension because it’s backs against the wall and it’s in the first game we’ll see what reaction you get from the panel.
“You either sink or swim at this stage. If you get over that first hurdle, it opens up the championship again.
“But the next hurdle is the only one you think of now.”
Sheedy has been down this road twice before, both last year and in 2010, so the squad has a man at the helm who understands that this is no time to panic.
“We have been there before, we have (had a bit of) hurt and come back from it., Sometimes you need that hurt for a performance and we have that now.
“We’re after winning the All-Ireland last year and there were a lot of pats on the back going,” Callanan adds.
“You don’t let it sink in but, at the same time, people give out (when things go wrong). The supporters want what’s best and want Tipperary on top at all times.
“Unfortunately there are a lot of other counties that don’t want that and want to stop that, so it doesn’t always work out.
“But we’re still alive in this championship, we’re still there and let’s see what the next few weeks brings.
“It only takes something small to change a championship, one action or one goal or one bit of luck, and all of a sudden things open up and positivity comes back around the place.
“I haven’t heard any of it, I don’t get involved. There’s a lot of negativity going around the country anyway, regardless of GAA, and to have people talking about something else is no harm.”
The Drom-Inch man also speaks about the feeling of running out into an empty stadium for championship — ’oh right, this is it so’ — and having to return home from Cork after a rain-soaked clash.
Seamus Callanan is hitting the campaign trail this week as part of NOW TV’s Hurl vs Hurley campaign which will see the nation vote on what is the definitive term for a hurler’s most prized possession. . The result of the poll will be revealed to the public on November 12. To have your say visit HurlvHurley.com where you can cast your vote right now.
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