content zone archives
"speak out!" archives
vote on it
Mon 09-Apr-2007 0:12
More from this writer..
Dining out with Babs
Has Babs Keating already hosted that important dinner he convenes at the beginning of every hurling year, wonders An Fear Rua …
That’s the celebrated meal where Babs brings together his selectors and their wives in a convivial atmosphere to get the year off to a pleasant start. Babs is shrewd enough to know that every hurling year brings its ups and downs but a good start is half the battle.
Over the coffee and petit-fours, it has been the tradition that Babs and his selectors – and we’ve no doubt the spouses can join in too – speculate on who will comprise their championship starting fifteen. In ’89 and ’91 – the two years Babs managed Tipp to All Ireland senior hurling success – they were able to agree on fourteen of their fifteen ‘starters’ by the end of the famous dinner.
Essentially, for Babs, the Allianz National Hurling League is an exercise in putting the final touches to a championship fifteen that is already forming in his mind. More so this year, because the Premier county have a bye in the first round of the Munster championship. It’s vitally important that Tipp get to the final stages of the League because if that doesn’t happen, they’ve a long wait from the start of April until the beginning of June when their championship commences.
Without a League quarter final or semi final to contend for, training can become monotonous. Those games are the stepping stones to championship success. That’s why this year – above all others – Babs sees being in the closing stages of the League as vital to their chances of beating Limerick in June.
All the more reason, then, that he will be concerned at Limerick’s 2-13 to 0-16 defeat of Tipp at Nenagh yesterday in Round 1 of Division 1B of the League. The League is so tightly structured that even dropping two points in your opening game can make qualifying for the knock out stages a difficult task.
Limerick’s victory finally broke a sequence of nine league and championship games without a win over. Tipp cannot plead that the absence of their Toomevara squad affected the outcome, since their defeat by Ballyhale Shamrocks in the semifinal of the AIB club championship will have dented their morale and may even be a portent of how the Tipp year is to pan out.
No, Limerick matched Tipp in every phase of the play but it took a lucky enough with nine minutes of normal time remaining to kill of the blue-and-gold challenge. In his typical style, Brian Geary launched a free into the square from way out and Ollie Moran doubled on the sliothar to send it into the net, putting Limerick 2-12 to 0-15 ahead.
Tipperary had started the stronger. As expected, Eoin Kelly showed good touches in their attack. Three points from Kelly, and one from Lar Corbett, put them 0-4 to 0-2 ahead early on but a goal from Andrew O'Shaughnessy then changed matters. In all, 1-5 from O’Shaughnessy helped the Treaty men into a 1-7 to 0-5 lead at the break.
Tipperary were not ready to let the game get away from them and some early scoring saw them gradually narrow the margin. With just ten minutes to go, they were level, 1-12 to 0-12, before Moran's composed strike thrust Limerick ahead.
The timing was crucial, and although Kelly pointed a late free to put just two points between the sides, Moran added a point for Limerick to restore their three-point lead at the end.
Richie Bennis and Limerick will take great heart from this display as well as from the result. Clearly, the Shannonsiders are far from being a finished championship side. But our guess is that Richie this morning has a better idea than Babs of what his county’s championship starting side will be. It may be that Babs will have to look to the ranks of the county’s excellent under 21s and cast some of them into the seething cauldron of a Munster championship tussle a bit sooner than he might otherwise have liked.
This year, as in every year in Munster and All Ireland hurling, the bar is raised a little bit higher. What did last year to win, will not suffice in 2007. Babs knows that. He knows that Tipp need to up their League performance if that cosy meal with his selectors and their wives is not to turn into his ‘Last Supper’ ….
Two years or bust! – Loughnane previews Galway"s year
‘We talk just like lions, but we sacrifice like lambs…’.
Whatever Happened to….
Anyone you know in your club?
Bin Tags Don't Make a County
‘Some a’ Dem’ Lads are only Dow-en for the Showers….’
Heavenly Hurling: How the Gods pass their time...
GAA Time and Real Time
Saint Patrick and the camogie princesses
Keats and Chapman at the Munster Final
Mass, the Mater, ‘The Dergvale’ and Mullingar…
More "Content Zone" Topics >>
More "Speak Out!" Topics >>
There are 10,277 members signed up to anfearrua.com
All times are Dublin, Ireland.
Always here... with the best in GAA discussion and comment!
© An Fear Rua, 2000 - 2013
Make AFR your home page
[ Top of Page ]