Tipperary learned lessons against Galway that they intend to apply in Sunday’s All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final showdown with Kilkenny at Croke Park (3.30pm, live on RTÉ One).
According to the Premier County their conversion rate in front of the posts and their work-rate weren’t up to scratch at GAA Headquarters last month.
They were good enough to sneak past the Tribesmen at the semi-final stage, but captain and manager know that better will be required against the Cats.
“There definitely was the element of a bit of rust and we weren’t as sharp as we had been in the Munster Championship,” said skipper and midfielder Brendan Maher, speaking to RTÉ Sport.
“Our conversion rates weren’t very good – I think we had 14 wides against Galway. In training we couldn’t replicate those high pressure situations and the crowd – you have to get through them and that’s what we did.
“We grinded it out and the self-belief in this team is huge – that’s what got us the win and that’s something we can build on.”
According to boss Michael Ryan, who was a selector for six years first under Liam Sheedy and then Eamon O’Shea before leading Tipp to the final in his first year in charge, his team has to work harder.
They looked like a well-oiled machine winning the Munster Championship, particularly when they blew past Waterford in the final, but he wasn’t happy with everything he saw against Galway.
“The stuff that we believe firmly in is that our work-rate has to get higher,” he explained.
“We haven’t got to that level we want in Croke Park yet this year and that’s the challenge for the final.
“We have to find that next level of work-rate and then to consistency to apply that over the whole 70, 72, 74 minutes or whatever it is.”
Tipperary are the third most successful hurling county in All-Ireland terms, behind only Kilkenny and Cork on the roll of honour.
“We grinded it out and the self-belief in this team is huge"
However, their Liam MacCarthy strike-rate has been poor since their last golden period in the sixties, averaging about one a decade.
They came out on top in 2001 and 2010, but have lost two finals (one after a replay) and a semi-final to the Cats since their last triumph.
According to Maher, who won All-Ireland senior and Under-21 titles in 2010, younger players like Ronan Maher, Dan McCormack and Cathal Barrett have helped the older players shed the baggage they had accumulated after repeated defeats by the Cats.
“Definitely,” he confirmed. “There’s a group of us there that have been around since ’08 or ’09 and we’ve been through a lot.
“We’ve had some reasonable success and we’ve had some major disappointments in All-Ireland finals as well.
“We have gained an awful lot of experience from that and then the young lads that have come in have no baggage like that of being in All-Ireland finals and losing them.
“They haven’t won an All-Ireland either so the hunger is massive and we’re feeding off that all year. They are really driving us on and in turn we are trying to offer what we can.”
Watch live coverage of Kilkenny v Tipperary on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player from 1405 and follow our live blog on RTE.ie. Listen live on RTÉ Radio 1 from 1300 to include coverage of the Tipperary v Limerick minor final and watch highlights of all the weekend's GAA action on The Sunday Game from 2130 on RTÉ2.