herald

Monday 26 September 2016

'Tipperary can win senior All-Ireland within five years', believes Colin O'Riordan

Colin O'Riordan, Tipperary U21 Football captain, was joined by his Tyrone counterpart Kieran McGeary in Parnell Park, Dublin, ahead of the EirGrid GAA Football U21 All-Ireland Final on Saturday, 2nd May
Colin O'Riordan, Tipperary U21 Football captain, was joined by his Tyrone counterpart Kieran McGeary in Parnell Park, Dublin, ahead of the EirGrid GAA Football U21 All-Ireland Final on Saturday, 2nd May

IT seems that with each passing achievement by Colin O'Riordan with Tipperary's underage footballers, another Premier expert is lined up to point out that he'd make a great hurler if he just put his mind to it.

Indeed, the instance of such remarks made to O'Riordan himself is much more frequent.

"Yeah, every day," he confirms. Every day?

"Yeah. They always say, 'give up the big ball, give up this, give up that'. But sure, look..."

In jest? "I'd say they'd say it jokingly and they'd be laughing at you but it's what I love doing.

"I love playing football, I love togging out with the boys, there's a massive bond there.

"When Tommy Toomey made me captain of the 21s, you're not just going to turn your back on them. There's no point in throwing it in."

He was brought aboard Eamon O'Shea's hurling squad last year after Tipp's football summer ended against Galway and O'Riordan isn't about to rule out a similar progression later this season either.

But his focus is on first, Tipperary's All-Ireland Under 21 final with Tyrone on Saturday in Parnell Park and then, forcing their spot amongst the sport's aristocracy.

Could, for instance, Tipperary be competing for an All-Ireland senior title by the year 2020?

"I see no reason why it can't," O'Riordan says. "People think you're stupid when you say it. But people thought we were stupid when we said we'd win the All-Ireland (minor title) in 2011.

"And people thought we were stupid when we said we'd be talking about four steps to an U-21 final in 2015.

"Look, 2020 is five years away, that's five years more ground work that needs to be done but you never know what will happen in five years."

A reluctant renaissance then, given the historic local apathy of hurling folk towards O'Riordan's favoured sport?

"When a team in your county is winning, everyone rallies around you," he insists. "It doesn't matter what sport it is.

rally round

"People rally around a team and just want to see their county perform to the best of their ability.

"So it's not about taking sides between hurling and football. This is about Tipperary. This is about your county.

"It's not about hurling and football, to be honest."

A win for Tipp against Tyrone on Saturday would complete a notable double for him and a handful of others who played on the 2011 minor team that shocked Dublin in the All-Ireland final.

"Yeah, it would be, it would be massive," O'Riordan, who was eligible for the Under 16 grade in 2011, agrees.

"There's no point saying it wouldn't. We'd love to get to the U-21 All-Ireland medal as well as the minor.

"It would be a massive achievement," he concludes, "and that's the goal for Saturday. "

Promoted articles

Entertainment News