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Seamus Callanan: League run ideal preparation for Tipperary's date with Limerick in the Munster championship

Updated: Tuesday, 06 May 2014 14:26 | Comments

Seamus Callanan ended up as top-scorer in this year's hurling league
Seamus Callanan ended up as top-scorer in this year's hurling league

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Not for the first time in the modern era, Tipperary hurlers have come up short against Kilkenny in a match of real significance.

Sunday's League Division 1 final defeat by a solitary point after extra-time will no doubt frustrate the Premier faithful but for now they must simply try to take the positives from it and move on.

In less than a month Limerick await in the Munster championship - an opportunity to make amends for last year's loss against the Shannonsiders.

Tipperary full-forward Seamus Callanan is already looking forward to that clash and feels that the intensity shown by the side in the league decider will benefit them in the summer campaign.

"For us the whole league was about preparing right for the Limerick game" - Seamus Callanan

He told RTÉ Sport: "It's tough to lose a final but it was as much about getting a performance from the team and having players challenge at the top level. For us the whole league was about preparing right for the Limerick game.

"When Tipp and Kilkenny play it's always going to be a tough battle and there was a championship intensity out there today.

"The game will definitely stand to us. We've had our ups and downs in the league but the focus now is on Limerick."   

RTÉ analyst Tom Dempsey praised the character shown by Tipperary as they went down to a fifth consecutive loss against the Black and Amber in a league final.

He said: "I was impressed with the way they fought back in normal time to draw the game,"  

"That aspect will have pleased their manager Eamon O'Shea.

"Looking at Eamon's face he was very down after the game. A bit of silverware would have been nice because he has taken a little bit of criticism during the league."

"Kilkenny are so cute. Even when the game is tight and the minutes are ticking down, they never lose their focus"

As for Kilkenny, the former All-Ireland winner with Wexford highlighted the composure they showed when scoring that last-gasp point to secure victory at Semple Stadium.

"Kilkenny are so cute. Even when the game is tight and the minutes are ticking down, they never lose their focus," said Dempsey.

"Two things brought that home to me.

"The change in free taker for the second last free. TJ Reid was taking them all day, but they brought out Richie Power to take it. For the winning score you expected the line ball to be dropped in the square over the bar  – but they used their heads and Richie Hogan combined with TJ Reid for the winning point.

"The fitness levels of these guys is incredible and I’m looking forward to the championship."   

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