Liam Sheedy believes Tipperary are in the zone to put All-Ireland titles back to back.
Manager when the Premier won the 2010 Liam MacCarthy Cup, Sheedy was also at the helm the last time Tipp collected the national hurling league title in 2008, Sheedy acknowledges that the reigning champions left a few All-Irelands behind them in recent years:
"I think if you go back to the last number of years, they have probably been close to getting a few more, so the return of one over the last six years is a poor return I would say, based on the talent that they have at their disposal. A few years it got away on them.
"But I certainly got the sense last year, after they won the match, I thought they looked calculated, that they seemed like a bunch that weren't happy to just win one. I think they see what Kilkenny have done over the last number of years and the way they've dominated the sport and I certainly feel there's a drive within this group to try to put it back to back.
"But to do that they have a long journey to travel, there's a lot of hurdles they have to climb, they have to climb three hurdles in Munster alone. The Munster championship was surprisingly easy for them last year. I don't see it being that easy to navigate this year."
Speaking at the launch of The Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge in Croke Park, Sheedy pointed to the strength in depth evident in the Tipp squad at present: "I think the biggest thing Michael Ryan has learned over the course of the league is the strength that he has in his panel. If guys are missing and the team are still winning, it's dreamland, it really is, from a management perspective. So it seems to be a really competitive arena. I think really it's not the first 15 that wins All-Irelands, I feel, it's probably the second 15."