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Liam Kearns: Tipp were "bordering on heroic" in second half
Tipp manager Liam Kearns has said his team's second half performance, despite losing the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo, was "bordering on heroic
The Premier County came from six points down at the interval to trail by just two at one stage before a somewhat fortunate build up to Conor O'Shea's late goal had them in retreat again.
But Kearns said he was even prouder of them now than he was three weeks ago when they took out Galway in a quarter-final.
Ultimately their dearth of resources caught up with them, he acknowledged.
"I thought they were outstanding. I said to them at half-time, 'we're not lying down here', and no-one lay down. They went out and brought the game to them, as we have throughout this campaign.
Ultimately we didn't get the break, we had two injuries and the depth in our squad probably told against us in the end."
Kearns felt the loss of centre-back Robbie Kiely to a black card after nine minutes was "harsh" and hurt them.
"That was very hard for us to take and a red card (Bill Maher) at the finish. The second Mayo goal was a killer, he (Evan Regan) was going for a point, slipped and it ended up at the feet of the player who pulled on it for a goal.
"We didn't get the breaks but the players never gave up, they played to the end and played football the way it should be played. They put everything in, they're totally committed and I couldn't be more proud of it."
It was a huge loss (Robbie Kiely). We brought in Shane Leahy and he's a bit inexperienced, it was his first time on that stage, it was tough going.
"Diarmuid O'Connor caused us problems at wing-forward and unfortunately we had to take Shane off. It took us until half-time to sort things out in the dressing-room but we did sort it out.
"We got back within two points and I was confident we'd take it to the wire. It wasn't to be because we got a few more knocks and we probably can't sustain those knocks.
"When Robbie got the black card we were going well, I thought we should have been more up, but when they got a run on us they caused problems, Andy Moran caused us problems inside and they got on top in the middle third. They dominated there, that's where the damage was done."
Kearns believes Tipp have been comfortable on the Croke Park stage in their last two visits and can "aspire" to being regulars in the future.
"I'll let others judge if we can get back, but the boys have been very comfortable out here, they haven't left themselves down in Croke Park in the quarter or semi-final.
"Mayo have been in six semi-finals in a row, this is our first time here. My view is that Tipp can aspire to come back to this level on a regular basis, providing we get things right, total commitment - there's a lot of good players in Tipp who could have been with us today but weren't, so we need to get our set-up right back in the county.
"I'd hope this run will galvanise the players in the county, and the supporters, to get behind the football team. There's no reason the county can't compete in both - we've shown it this year, we've reached the football semi-final and the hurlers are in an All-Ireland final. So why not?"
JC Wales (Tipperary) - 23/08/2016 09:35:59
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Paddy Stapleton Retirement Announcement:
10 wonderful years playing SH for Tipperary since first being called up by Babs Keating in 2006, I wish to announce my retirement from the inter-county scene.
I wish to thank my family, especially my parents Patricia and John, for all the positivity and advice through the years and also to my partner Jozette and close friends for supporting me always, particularly when I had injury setbacks.
I owe a huge gratitude of thanks to my club Borris-Ileigh have always made life easy for me when playing with Tipp and it will be a pleasure to give back as much as I can to them in the coming years. Equally the Gaelic Players Association has helped massively whenever I needed assistance and they provide a great service for the players.
In the Tipp backroom over the years, men of the calibre of John Casey, Paddy O'Brien, Dr. Kevin Delargy, Dr Brendan Murphy and Mick Clohessy had their work cut out keeping me injury-free and they all did a fantastic job and I sincerely thank them for that. The Tipperary Co. Board has also been great to me and continues to support the team to an elite level with the much appreciated assistance from the Tipperary Supporters Club.
I'd like to thank the supporters who kept the faith through good times and bad.
I would like to thank all the players I played with and I feel unbelievably lucky to have shared a dressing-room with some of the best Tipperary have ever produced. More importantly, I have made lifelong friendships and shared fantastic memories with great people.All the management teams played important roles in my life and each deserve enormous credit for taking on their respective roles. It is important for me that I especially acknowledge Liam Sheedy, Eamon O'Shea and Mick Ryan. They put huge trust in me and always led their teams in the best manner possible.
Finally I'd like to wish the current panel the very best of luck for 2017 and beyond.
In appreciation, Co. Board Chairman Michael Bourke commented that "Paddy Stapleton exemplified the spirit of Tipp by his ferocious work rate and ambition since he first came on the inter-county scene. A solid, dependable and committed player the 'Saint' always delivered when it mattered most and through his passion on the fields of play led his line on every occasion. On behalf of Tipperary County Board and all Tipperary people I thank Paddy for his contributions to the Tipperary cause over the years and wish him every success for the future."
Born August 3rd, 1985 and made his Senior competitive debut in the 2006 Waterford Crystal against Waterford. Made his NL debut against Limerick in 2008. Won a Munster Under 21 Hurling 2006 and won a Munster MH medal in 2003, at centre-back. Won a Fitzgibbon Cup with UL in 2011 & captained the side in 2012.
Won a NHL medal in 2008. Won 6 Munster Senior Hurling medals. Made his CH debut in 2008 All-Ireland Semi-Final against Waterford. Paddy made his first CH start at right corner-back in the 2009 Munster SHCH vs. Cork. Lined out at right corner back in the 2010 AISH Final victory over Kilkenny before winning a second All-Ireland Senior Hurling medal as part of the 2016 Tipperary panel. Paddy has won 2 North Senior Hurling medals with his club in 2005 and 2007. Paddy was nominated for an All-Star award in 2009, 2010 and 2014 at corner-back.
JC Wales (Tipperary) - 23/11/2016 15:46:07