NEW TIPPERARY HURLING boss Liam Sheedy concedes that the onus is on his side to win back the public after a disappointing 2018.
The 2016 All-Ireland champions crashed out of Munster in early June without a win to their credit after defeat to Clare following two draws and a loss to Limerick.
That stormy period, on top of the National Hurling League final defeat to Kilkenny led to slatings from the Tipperary public for their demise in form.
Sheedy is in the Premier county’s hot seat for the second time, eight years after departing as an All-Ireland winning manager.
And the Portroe man is well aware of what lies ahead.
“The one thing I will say – if you ask me what would concern me, I do think we need to win back the public,” 48-year-old Sheedy said in a wide-ranging interview with local media, including The Nenagh Guardian.
“Our crowds have dwindled in most matches that I went to last year. Tipp were outnumbered time and time and time again, home or away. That’s something that I will be looking at.
“From the first time we take to the pitch, I will be looking to get a team together that the county will follow because I do think back the last time, by the time we got to the end of the term, that team was being followed and I think it is really important that the county and all the supporters come in behind the team.
“We all know the work and effort that these guys put in and to be going out Sunday after Sunday and being outnumbered is something that we should not be proud of and certainly that’s one thing I will be doing – trying to create a team that’s worth following.”
Noel McGrath dejected after that loss to Clare.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
In further interviews with local media, Sheedy revealed that outgoing boss Michael Ryan gave him “the greatest push” to take the reins as his successor.
“Mick and I are great friends and very close,” he told The Tipperary Star.
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“He was been a huge support – we work together in Bank of Ireland and he said to me, go in Liam, bring a new voice and give it a go. He feels there is a good crop that has the potential to go and challenge.”
He expressed his excitement at getting back into the thick of the action since making his decision and being ratified in the position.
“I probably haven’t felt as good in years as I have in the last few days since I made the decision. 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.
“We are a proud GAA family and I just said here it goes. Since I made the decision, I have been buzzing.”
– Updated 10.50am Friday, 5 October.
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