Tipperary hurling manager and former All-Ireland winning corner-back has spoken on the criticism of the Premier full-back line ahead of this Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Galway.
With Tipp ready to put their All-Ireland title on the line again this weekend, much talk is circulating around their malfunctioning full-back line. Having been obliterated all over the field against Galway in the National League final, many of Tipp’s problems have ironed themselves out, but the full-back line remains under heavy scrutiny.
Speaking to GAA.ie, the the Tipp manager was quick to speak of his own experiences in the last line of defence and offered some sympathy tothe players currently occupying numbers 2, 3 and 4 in his side;
“I just think the full-back line in particular is such a horrible place to be. If the ball breaks badly and you’re on a really good forward or he just reads that ball millimetres better than you do, you’re dead, and it’s a green flag and that’s simply it.
“If the forward gets the turn first and is on the top of his game, you’re in trouble.
“I too have conceded enough goals to know if a team is on a bad run and you’re conceding goals, then nobody is happy about that.
“But the problems tend to be from much further out the field. Now I wouldn’t be offering that up as a defence for our back-line performance this year. It’s been poor. Our fellas haven’t been at the levels they need to reach.
“But it’s eminently fixable. As long as you have a match ahead of you, it’s eminently fixable”.
Tipp prepare to play what many rate as the most potent attack in Ireland this year. Galway have struck 2-28, 0-33 and 0-29 in their three championship outings to date, along with 3-21 the last time these two sides met back in April.
But the Premier attack has been equally as impressive this season in the championship. Having provided a poor 0-14 when they last faced Galway, the return of Seamus Callanan along with a strong upturn in form from John McGrath and others has seen the Tipp swagger return emphatically which Ryan also alerted to;
“I’m looking at these guys and I’m watching their body language and as far as I’m concerned I’m watching a team that’s just growing in confidence”.
Having described as being “chinned” when they last faced Galway, Ryan and the Tipp fans will be hoping for that confidence to be back to its 2016 level when Tipp left everybody besides Galway chasing shadows.
Sunday promises to be a cracking encounter with the two best attacks in the country doing battle for a place in the All-Ireland final.
Check out this week’s episode of The 16th Man as we look ahead to Tipperary vs Galway and much more