Monday 20 August 2012

Dark Day for Tipp Senior Hurlers

All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final:

Kilkenny 4-24; Tipperary 1-15

Tipperary suffered their heaviest defeat ever in an All-Ireland semi-final, or final, in Croke Park yesterday. The All-Ireland final of '64 was well avenged. I could throw in another one before I was born - Killarney 1937; remembered especially for the outstanding displays by the two greats from Carrick-on-Suir, Willie Wall and Jimmy Cooney - when Tipperary's victory margin was a point less than yesterday's defeat. The obsession to get the ball into the hand which has permeated through hurling for more than 30 years eminently suits certain counties - not Tipperary. If Tipperary's senior All-Ireland's are not to be even more sparse than they have been for the past 47 years, they will have to return to their traditional style of first time striking on the ground and in the air and avoid handling when ever possible. In the scrummages, the ball should be worked out to an alerted team mate, by hurley or boot, who should move it towards the opponents goal as quickly as possible thereby avoiding the mostly unproductive attempts to get the ball into the hand. There are times when it is more beneficial to handle the ball and place it to the best advantage of a team mate—a player's instinct will dictate when this should happen.

For hurling in general, the great skill of ground and air striking should be cultivated in players from a young age. This is not happening at present despite the fact that large amounts of cash are being apportioned to coaching. Referees should receive directions from Central Council as to how they should react when a player "pulls" on a ball and contact is made with an opponent accidentally in the process. They are making erratic decisions at present.

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