The interview is a summary of Babs' entire career from growing up in a football area to winning All-Irelands and everything else
Michael 'Babs' Keating spoke to the lads on Off The Ball and discussed everything from his time growing up in a football town to his second stint as the manager of the Tipperary hurlers and the problems that ensued.
Speaking about his second appointment as the manager of Tipperary hurlers, Babs realised early on that there were issues with discipline on the horizon, “90% of the interview was devoted to discipline and if the county board saw it that way, obviously there was a problem with that bunch of Tipperary players.”
It didn't initially turn Babs off as he felt he could deal with the disciplinary side of things provided he had back-up from the county board. That didn't turn out to be the case, however, “I said I’ll deal with the discipline provided you stand by me. I dealt with the discipline but I’m not sure the county board stood by me.”
“I was dealing with a county secretary in Thurles that didn't know what happened back in 1986”
Babs went on to explain how he was in a bind regarding helping the people who helped him and Tipperary hurling out of a hole back in the 80’s and says he was rejected “point blank” by the county secretary and the county board, which led to the by now infamous split.
Babs doesn't lose too much sleep over it though and says, “If the texts and the phone calls I got reflect the attitude of the people out there against the county board, I think the county secretary made a huge mistake.”
Regarding some of the problems later in the naughties that have led to grumblings based on his columns in the Sun newspaper, he said “it’s my job to give a fairly honest analysis as I see it and having been there as a player and a manager, I’m not going to hold back if I see something wrong.”
Eoin Kelly, Brendan Cummins are two players in particular who may have felt hard done by during Babs’ reign and Ger and Colm question him on this, “Eoin Kelly got injured playing against Dublin out in Parnell Park and he came off after 10 minutes.”
“We played Wexford the following Saturday and I had an arrangement with White’s Hotel, who had the ice baths and I suggested to Eoin Kelly that he go there immediately to get himself right. I checked with White’s hotel on Monday and he never turned up.”
He continues, “He came on and told everyone he was fit to play. At the end of the day he was on for 53 minutes against Wexford and didn't deliver because he wasn't fit to deliver.”
Another issue was the placement of Brendan Cummins’ puck outs and the way Babs and his management team wanted to play.
He says, “The same with Brendan Cummins, nobody got more warnings about the way we wanted to play hurling than Brendan Cummins and he just didn't cooperate with us.”
Babs admits that taking the job the second time around was the wrong option and he goes into more detail as to why. It's an all round interesting interview with a man steeped in Tipperary hurler and its traditions.