Bonnar and players grounded by unexpected loss
By Shane Brophy
There were no excuses from Tipperary manager Colm Bonnar as his first game in charge of the Premier County saw them fall to a first ever defeat to Kerry at senior level.
“Just because you wear the Tipperary doesn’t give us a divine right to beat anybody. We have to work very hard for it.” he said after watching his side being outmuscled in difficult conditions in Tralee.
“That was an eye-opener. Would I rather start with a victory? Of course, I would, but the fact we lost that game doesn’t change what I am about or what our management team is about. We are very focused on where we can bring this team and the players we have.
“It might not have went well today and will dampen expectations from supporters but I would still have huge expectations from this group of players and those coming back on Tuesday.”
Tipperary won the toss and had the back of a strong wing in the first half but ten first half wides prevented them from putting Kerry under pressure on the scoreboard.
Bonnar added: “We felt we had a very inexperienced team and said we’d take the breeze and see what happened. Kerry got into the game very quickly and were physically very dominant. They started winning breaking ball all over the field, they were tackling aggressively and hurled an awful better than we did in the first half. They made it frustrating for us to have to play with that breeze and go in three points down.
“We did turn it around in the second half into the strong breeze and did get at them.
“The one thing we asked the players was to keep going and keep believing in what we are doing, and we did get it back to a point with a few minutes to go. It was back in the mix so that is one thing I can take away from it.
“It is disappointing to come down here and lose as we did want to get another game for these boys against Limerick to bring them on another stage in their development, but it didn’t happen, so we just have to go back to the drawing board.”
The most notable aspect from the performance from Bonnar’s perspective was the lack of the desired workrate from some of the players, and even against teams such as Kerry, you can be exposed.
“The one thing you can always control is your ability to work hard and the ability to get stuck into a game,” he added.
“It doesn’t matter about hurling in terms of how you bring yourself into a game but Kerry did boss us in that department and did boss us for long periods of that first half and we learnt our lesson and came out more aggressively in the second half and started to win more breaking ball and turning the game around more on them which was pleasing but it is a lesson that has to be learnt and if we learn that lesson early on January 8th, I’ll take that. You can’t allow a team physically to dominate you because you can’t then depend on your hurling skill to bring you into it.”
The defeat means Tipperary won’t have another competitive game prior to the start of the National League but the new Premier boss doesn’t feel that will be a major setback.
“We have another three good weeks of preparation,” he added.
“We have about 47 players coming in different stages. There is a lot of play for different players will be coming and going. I saw players there today I was happy with and things that I wouldn’t be happy with, but that is where these players need to stand up when they come back to training on Tuesday night and ask themselves what do I need to do to get better, and what did Kerry do that I couldn’t get myself into the game. They have to ask these questions as when it comes to it, it is a one on one battle and when you put on that jersey you expect to win your battle no matter who the opponent is.
“In that sense it is a learning curve and is a shock to people looking in that Kerry beat Tipperary on the 8th of January, but we will take it in our stride and will move forward. It is not going to change what we are doing in training; we just have to be sure that we are more prepared when we get into games like this again."