WHEN THE FINAL whistle blasted in Croke Park on Sunday, Liam Sheedy walked briskly down the Hogan Stand sideline.
He was joined by first selector Darragh Egan and then Tommy Dunne before they met their target.
Eamon O’Shea, the last member of the Tipperary hurling brains trust, was who they sought out and the group embraced, jumping in celebration in the knowledge that they had steered their county back to Liam MacCarthy Cup glory.
Sheedy’s link with O’Shea runs deep, having tasted All-Ireland success together back in 2010. For Sheedy the return to the summit was made all the more pleasing by the presence of his coaching sidekick alongside him.
“Myself and Eamon O’Shea have a special relationship, there’s no other words for it. We started back in 2008 and we went on a journey and the journey finished in 2010. The reality is I wouldn’t be sitting here today as an All-Ireland champion manager only for Eamon O’Shea.
“We just have a special connection. He has a special connection to all the players and he just brings the best out of everyone. I fully appreciate the work he does but, again, I would feel that in me, in Tommy, in Darragh and in Eamon we have the best set up in the country and that’s what you need if you’re going to go toe to toe with the likes of Kilkenny and Limerick and the rest of them.
“Eamon O’Shea is a very busy man. He has a hectic schedule. I couldn’t visualise myself going on this journey without having Eamon by my side and on my shoulder. Just thrilled this morning now, it’s pure elation because we done it together in 2010 and here we are, it was a special moment in 2010 going up and throwing up the cup and yesterday, to do it again with Eamon by my side is a very special moment.”
Sheedy will take time to ‘assess things’ in the wake of the 2019 season but admits he is ‘feeling good’ a job that he took on for a second time with Tipperary at the end of last year.
“Yeah I made a decision at the start of the year that I’d assess things at the end of the year. I’m in for three years, I always have a one-year plan and year one has gone very, very well so I’ve got to sit down with my family, I’ve got to sit down with my job and we’ll take things as they come.
“But right now the bug has hit me so right now I’m feeling good about the job, yeah. The journey was never about me. It was all about the group of players and they gave it, they gave all the energy and thankfully their energy was rewarded with a Celtic Cross.
“It’s very pleasing to be involved with such a group, it’s a real privilege.”
Sheedy praised the impact of All-Ireland winning hurlers Eoin Kelly and Darren Gleeson who got involved in positions in his backroom team this year.
“Ah look, Eoin Kelly All-Ireland winning captain in 2010, still giving to the county. Anyone I’ve picked the phone up to over the last couple of months were more than happy to give to Tipperary.
“And I think it’s great credit due to them. They love the county. They love the jersey. They are very proud people and the support they give me in the background is just phenomenal.”
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And Sheedy also hailed the input of the Tipperary S&C coach Cairbre Ó Cairealláin.
“Ah look Cairbre is a top class man. Des Ryan runs the S&C program for the whole of Ireland so we certainly knew where lads were.
“We knew Arsenal had interest. We knew Connacht had interest. But, I had an interest too, and when we sat down we connected, and as soon as we connected we were in business, and he’s just a super guy.”
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