GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Liam Sheedy says Tipperary need to be at their peak to beat Kilkenny
Watch Tipperary vs Kilkenny live on Sky Sports on Sunday
Last Updated: 15/08/19 5:19pm
As Liam Sheedy prepares for his third All-Ireland final as manager, he knows exactly what to expect against Kilkenny.
The Portroe man was previously at the helm for the deciders in 2009 and 2010, two games that have gone down as all-time classics.
Tipp went toe-to-toe with a five-in-a-row chasing Cats side nine years ago, and had to out-work, out-fight and out-hurl the Nore-siders, but still got nothing easy. Sheedy knows it will be similar on Sunday.
"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," he explained.
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"We know we've got to be at the peak of our powers, but that's what we're prepared for. We know exactly what's coming out the tunnel, two really well-prepared teams, two teams that on the ball can inflict real damage on the opposition.
"It's set up for a really, really outstanding final. Two teams that will go toe to toe with some exceptional players on both sides. This is where you want to be. When you step back into a role like this, you do it for days like this.
"Both teams are there having come difficult routes and really needed to be at the peak of their powers to get in there, and 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."
Tipperary lost form midway through the summer after blitzing their way through the Munster round robin. They became unstuck in the provincial final against Limerick, and there were question marks hanging over the side after All-Ireland quarter-final against Laois.
"We took the scenic route," Sheedy noted. "The Munster final was a tough day for us. We didn't bring a level of performance in the second half of what we'd expect from ourselves so that was hugely disappointing.
"[We're] delighted to have gotten the second chance but the cushion of having a trap-door was gone after the Munster Final. We knew this was it, it's knock-out hurling from here on in and the boys prepared accordingly. We freshened up a little bit as well. We felt we needed to get a bit of freshness back into the bodies.
"Every year when you start out you want to be involved on All-Ireland final day and that's where we find ourselves and we're just really, really looking forward to it.
"It's been hard-earned. There's been a few twists and turns along the way which I knew there would be. But to be in there now is really, really pleasing. It's one we're just really relishing and looking forward to."
For such a talented group, there was a hunger to work their way back to the top after an underwhelming 2018 campaign which saw them exit the championship without a win.
"They spent all of last summer watching a great Championship develop and they weren't part of it," Sheedy described. "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 the 15th of November, the way they've applied themselves and gone about their business is heroic. I'm just hugely proud to be associated with them."
Sky Sports' GAA coverage continues on Sunday as Tipperary and Kilkenny face off in the All-Ireland hurling final.