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Tipperary selector Paudie O’Neill has hailed the quality of yesterday’s Allianz Hurling League final, despite his team’s defeat to Kilkenny in the showpiece event.
Tipp were defeated by Kilkenny on a 2-17 to 0-20 scoreline at Nowlan Park, in a fiery and highly competitive encounter, and O'Neill felt the game was a fine spectacle, but that his team's first half performance ultimately led to their defeat.
“I think it was a fantastic day, great atmosphere, huge crowd. A wonderful occasion,” said O’Neill.
“I don’t think you would get better value in the sporting front anywhere in the world than what you got here: two brilliant teams.
“Obviously disappointed, we came down here to win the game.
“I think we probably left ourselves too much to do. Playing with the breeze in the first half we conceded two goals. Against a strong breeze in the second half we just couldn’t quite claw that back.”
Against a strong breeze in the second half we just couldn’t quite claw that back” - Paudie O'Neill
O’Neill also emphasised how the game – and league season – were crucial for the Tipp selectors in gathering information on the form of their players.
“We’ve thirty guys in our panel and one of the principles we were operating on during the league was that every player would get game time, because that’s the only way you can really assess them,” he said.
“Guys have put in a serious effort, have been since 8 December. So again today, it’s gone past being a 15-man game.
“Twenty players played there from Tipperary today and I’d say that will inform our decisions over the next couple of weeks.”
The selector also highlighted his team’s inability to carve out goal chances throughout the 70 minutes, saying: “Overall throughout the game we didn’t create goal chances.
“You can score 20 points in a game, but if you don’t put a goal with it, you’re always going to be struggling to win a game.
“That’s something for us to work on when we get back this week.”
When pressed on what team Tipp might field in the Championship, O’Neill said that was to be decided over the coming weeks.
He said: “Well, we don’t know that ourselves yet. This is going to be judged on what happened today, but also what happens over the next five weeks. We’re back in training on Tuesday night and all these lads are playing club games tomorrow.
“They deserve great credit because they’re fantastic lads.
“They’re playing for their clubs tomorrow throughout the length of Tipperary. They’re back in training on Tuesday night. It will be judged on what happens on the training field over the next five weeks.”