Monday, 4 June 2012

Thoughts on Tipperary GAA

Tipperary's successes in senior hurling will remain scant if a different approach is not taken. On the playing field, I would like to see the following in the play of the county team:

  • More determination and confidence in seeking primary possession of the ball; quicker delivery of the ball; it should be done instinctively.
  • Far more use of ground hurling - Tipperary's forte when they were very successful.
  • Refraining from going in to tackle the man with the ball with one hand on the hurley and the left arm around the side of the opponent. All that does is concede a free. Players should go in with two hands on the hurley and move the feet to use the body to prevent the opponent from using the ball. Many times I have seen two, and sometimes three, Tipperary players going to a Kilkenny forward and he being still able to pass to an unmarked colleague who has all the time in the world to blast the net from 15 or 20 yards.
  • When a Tipperary player is involved in a schmozzle some tactic such as scooping it on the ground to a colleague should be planned, rather than trying to get it into the hand which, even if successful, very seldom results it being used to any advantage.

A big difficulty in Tipperary is that the standard of club hurling is so low due to the fact that about 20 clubs have teams playing senior hurling when they are only fit for intermediate or junior. The championship is arranged so that a team is guaranteed at least 4 or 5 games even if they never win one. When the word "relegation" is mentioned you hear a remark like "relegation is no good for any club". My answer to that is that it is no good to any club with no spirit or no ambition. Until an attitude prevails in the county that a club that goes the ranks should do what's needed to get back up stronger than ever, the poor return of All-Irelands over the last 45 years will continue. No need for half of the league and championship club fixtures. Quality rather than quantity should be the order of the day—and get all championships completed at a respectable month of the year.

As regards football I look on the players and officials who have given unstinted service to the playing and promotion of the game in the county now, and down the years, as heroes. The wonderful success of the minor footballers will not automatically bring success up the line without a big effort to improve the standard of club competition within the county. The present situation where 6 or 7 clubs that have only token attachment to the promotion of Gaelic football in the county supply players to a team that succeeds in beating a single club that has traditionally promoted Gaelic football as well as hurling, does nothing to promote the game. Maybe a greater emphasis on grading teams should be tried. Ignore divisional boundaries for the championship where the weaker teams would have to play preliminary games to get into the championship proper in an effort to get more quality and intensity into the competition.

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