Tipperary's path to Sunday's All-Ireland SHC final with Kilkenny took a few twists along the way.

The Premier County cruised through the Munster round-robin with four wins from four but were well beaten in the provincial decider by Limerick.

An unconvincing win over Laois in the quarters followed but their memorable victory over Wexford in the last four banished any doubts about their ability to challenge for Liam McCarthy.

Tipp were five points and a man down with 20+ minutes to play but stormed back to win 1-28 to 3-20, their much-maligned bench contributing four crucial points in a game where they also had three goals disallowed.

"We felt we had 300 really good minutes in the round-robin series," manager Sheedy tells RTÉ Sport. "For whatever reason, we came flat in the Munster final. Limerick just overpowered us, they had an exceptional performance on the day. 

"We knew this was it, it's knock-out hurling from here on in and the boys prepared accordingly. We felt we timed it right in terms of coming for the semi-final and I think it was proven.

"The questions were asked and that wasn't turned around by me or any of my backroom team. That was turned around by those guys inside the white lines. The XV that started and the five that came in. The way the bench reacted, they really made the difference.

"It just shows you what it means to this group. They were really keen to get on and get into an All-Ireland final. They spent all of last summer watching a great Championship develop and they weren't part of it. So, in other words, that burning desire to get back in there.

"I'm just thrilled for the group because since I've been involved with them from 15 November, the way they've applied themselves and gone about their business is heroic. I'm just hugely proud to be associated with them."

Liam Sheedy celebrates after the 2010 All-Ireland final

Sheedy led Tipp to back-to-back All-Ireland finals in 2009-10, winning the title that stopped Kilkenny's drive for five '10 and surprisingly stepping down shortly after.

In his wildest dreams did he think his first year back in the hot seat would end in another decider?

"I don't time these things," he insists

"All we do is prepare to the absolute top of our ability. That's how we've gone about our business.

"There's no clock running here. It's just about going in night after night, week after week and preparing to a really, really high level. Some days that works for you, some days it doesn't.

"To be in an All-Ireland final, the group are in there on merit. They deserve to be in there, because, ultimately, they saw it out the last day when the real hard questions were asked.

"This is where you want to be. When you step back into a role like this, you do it for days like this.

"Irrespective of what happens, I can honestly look back and say from November 2018 right through to August 2019, these guys have given me absolutely everything."

TJ Reid (R) also captained Kilkenny against Tipp in 2010

A handful of survivors from that fateful final in 2010 remain: Padraic Maher, Brendan Maher, Noel McGrath and captain Seamus Callanan for Tipperary, Richie Hogan and skipper TJ Reid for the Cats.

Sheedy dismisses any comparisons to his last big day out at Croke Park but he expects a familiar challenge from a Brian Cody-managed team.

"Ultimately, 2010 is written into the history books, its long-gone, that'll have no impact on the 2019 final," he says.

"This is a new group of players. These are completely different structures that go head to head. 

"They are also two very, very good teams. Two teams that will go toe to toe with some exceptional players on both sides. Both teams are there having come difficult routes and really needed to be at the peak of their powers to get in there.

"Kilkenny have a massive spirit and a really strong work-ethic and they've got some excellent players. These guys on the ball will hurt you. We know we've got to be at the peak of our powers, but that's what we're prepared for. 

"I think you'll get an epic final and I think that's what all of the hurling community is looking forward to after what's been a wonderful period for hurling overall."

Follow the All-Ireland hurling final between Kilkenny and Tipperary (Sunday 3.30pm) via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie and the News Now app, watch live on RTÉ2 or listen to radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta

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