Seamus Callanan says partying hasn't prevented Tipperary winning more All-Irelands
ALLSTAR forward Seamus Callanan has rubbished claims that Tipperary’s failure to successfully defend any of their recent All-Ireland title wins is down to players celebrating too much.
Callanan was speaking at the launch of the Kellogg’s Cul Camps for 2017 which included a Q&A session with comedian and former Down minor footballer Patrick Kielty in front of an audience at Croke Park.
Kielty joked that Tipperary’s sporadic All-Ireland title wins – last September’s success was their first since 2010 – is down to players hitting the drink for eight years afterwards.
Powerful full-forward Callanan went along with the gag and retorted that at least it was an enjoyable eight years.
But speaking with reporters afterward he wholeheartedly disagreed with the suggestion of partying too hard which, he acknowledged, is often put to him.
“In every media interview it is a question that is asked, so it is obviously a perception amongst the media but, personally, as someone that was involved in the panel [in 2010], I fully disagree with that,” said Callanan.
“Look, we lost to Kilkenny [in 2011], there is no shame in losing to that Kilkenny team over those years. They were a very, very hard team to beat. It wasn’t down to preparation or anything like that. We have a massively committed bunch and anything else you hear outside of that is untrue.”
Callanan said he is fully focused on the task of beating in-form Wexford in Sunday’s Allianz league semi-final tie as he and Darren Gleeson are the only current panellists with League medals, from 2008.
The bigger picture, of course, is that players like Callanan are furiously targeting a successful defence of their All-Ireland crown this summer.
“There’s no doubt it would be a huge achievement,” the three-in-a-row Allstar said.
“But it’s a long way from where we are right now at the start of April. It’s not for us to be thinking about. We’re not there and there’s a very long way to get there.
“The next step is a League game and that’s what’s important to us right now. We can’t feel pressure to win Championship games until we’re there. We can’t have any sort of emotion towards that because we’re playing in the now and Wexford is in the now and that’s where our sights are.”
Callanan hit 0-13, including nine points from open play, in last year’s All-Ireland final win over Kilkenny and was part of a full-forward line that hit a staggering 2-21 in total.
Few commentators have been able to look beyond that remarkable show when assessing this year’s likely All-Ireland winners, penciling in Tipperary as the strong favourites.
Callanan smiled at that assertion and noted the amount of times Kilkenny, who conjured a draw with Tipperary in the League recently, have broken his county’s spirit over the years in Championship encounters.
“They’re firmly still the team to beat in our eyes,” said the Drom and Inch man.
“If anyone in the country had any doubts about that before they came to Thurles to play us in the League, that performance really should have extinguished any doubts that were there.
“We know the character of the players in Kilkenny and they still have a massive team and a fantastic panel and they still have Brian Cody at the helm. They’re going to be dangerous animals throughout the year.”
It remains to be seen if Wexford are genuine All-Ireland contenders too. Davy Fitzgerald has helped the county turn the corner on an indifferent decade or so since taking over as manager, gaining promotion to Division 1A of the Allianz League after just four games.
They beat Kilkenny in the quarter-finals – a shock result at Nowlan Park– and will return to Kilkenny city on Sunday with designs on repeating the win at Tipperary’s expense.
“It’s brilliant, another team thrown into the mix for the Championship. It makes for a great summer of hurling,” Callanan said.