While a minority would have tipped Galway to overcome Tipperary in yesterday’s Allianz National Hurling League final, nobody would have foreseen a 16-point winning margin for the Tribesmen.
Nobody, besides Ger Loughnane, it seems.
Loughnane has come out in his Irish Daily Star column this morning slating Tipp. The former Clare manager has claimed that the All Ireland champions were “soft” and “complacent” in their performance on Sunday.
The Premier were strong favourites coming into the league final, with many fancying them to kick on from last year’s Liam McCarthy Cup triumph and clinch a league crown on their way to first back-to-back All Irelands since the 1960s.
However, Galway completely tore that script up in the Gaelic Grounds yesterday afternoon. The shocked analysis at the ease at which Micheál Donoghue’s charges dispatched of Tipperary all over the field has left question marks over how good this Tipp team really are.
Perhaps the road to the first Sunday in September is not as straightforward as many have predicted for Michael Ryan’s side. Loughnane, an All Ireland winner as Banner manager in 1995 and 1997, is adamant that this crop of Tipperary players have been overhyped since their convincing championship win last year.
Despite the best efforts of management, these players do not have the attitude nor the toughness to retain their status as kingpins of hurling, according to the controversial 64-year-old.
He goes so far as to say this team is not great, they’re not even good!
The Sunday Game pundit explained:
“He (Michael Ryan) has done everything he possibly can to stop softness and complacency taking hold, but how can you really do that with the players he has.
“The softness and complacency has been fed by the commentary around this Tipperary team.
“Some have been comparing them to Kilkenny, even though they haven’t put All-Ireland back-to-back!
“Comparisons have been made with the Dublin footballers, with claims that Tipp’s second 15 is as strong a their first team.
“What utter nonsense. Tipp had five or six players playing yesterday that aren’t top class inter-county hurlers.
“So how can you talk of Tipp being great? This isn’t even a good Tipperary team, let alone a great one.
“True, they have their good days, but days like yesterday make it clear how far they have to travel.
“A good team, let alone a great team, wouldn’t be beaten out the gate like Tipp were by Galway yesterday.
“A good team, let alone a great team, wouldn’t give up an eight-point lead to an average Kilkenny side on their own turf in Thurles.”
Hat-tip: The Irish Independent
Aaron Ward, Pundit Arena