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Saturday 1 October 2016

Score machine Callanan 'loves' being a central Premier player

Declan Fanning
Declan Fanning

Declan Fanning was always convinced that Séamus Callanan had the attitude, as well as the talent, to become the talismanic two-time All Star he is today.

The Tipperary coach soldiered with Callanan as a player, and now he's hoping the 27-year-old can reprise his prolific 2014 and '15 exploits this summer, starting with Sunday's Munster SHC quarter-final against Cork in Thurles.

"I remember we used to always room together when I was involved," Fanning recalls.

"You could just see from the very minute he came in he was a very confident player.

"I wouldn't say cocky, but really, really confident in his own ability.

"And I think he loves being a central player. And once he got that central position he took on a leadership role. He's a very, very professional guy on and off the pitch. He looks after himself."

Positive

To underline Callanan's positive attitude, the Tipp mentor harks back to 2010 when Callanan was primarily used as an impact sub.

"It was in the dressing-room on the Thursday night before the All-Ireland (against Kilkenny)," he recalls. "The team was after being named and we all went in. Like we did every Thursday night before a big game we would have spoken together, and Séamus spoke that night.

"It would have been very easy for him to have his head dropped in the corner and make it all about him - but he didn't, it was all about the team. You just felt something was going to happen with the way he spoke that night.

"And he came on that day and he was excellent. I think I slagged him afterwards that when he did a long run and a hook, I knew we were definitely going to win!"

After winning back-to-back All Stars in the last two seasons, Callanan endured an injury-disrupted spring.

"He didn't get to play as much in the league as he would have liked, but he's got two rounds of club games in and he's in very, very good shape. He's looking forward to the championship," Fanning outlined.

"I'm not sure we'll just be trying to pick out Séamus - we've plenty of good forwards with plenty of skill. We'll definitely be trying to get every one of them on the ball as much as we can."

Meanwhile, Tipp have been monitoring wing-back Barry Heffernan's fitness ahead of the Cork clash after he "stepped down for a while" under concussion protocols, having received a second knock to his head.

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