Thursday 20 October 2016

Tipperary hope 'family' bond can test Kerry

Tipp’s Kevin O’Halloran. Picture Credit: Sportsfile
Tipp’s Kevin O’Halloran. Picture Credit: Sportsfile

Of all the damning facts and accusations hurled at the Cork footballers in the dark and presumably depressing days since they fell in slow motion to Tipperary in the Munster SFC semi-final, the list of missing parties from the Tipp squad has been the most frequently-employed missile.

Colin O'Riordan is in Australia, others are in America and some are just not interested.

But it's Steven O'Brien and Seamus Kennedy that stand out as the most prominent omissions, given that they're both training with the county's hurlers.

"We can't tell them what sport they've to play," shrugs Tipp's free-taker, Kevin O'Halloran.

"It's their own mind, it's what they want to do and we have to support them in what they want to do and where they want to go with their sporting career.

"The signs weren't good," O'Halloran admitted of the prelude to Cork.


"But we're like family below in Dr Morris Park when we're training. There are 30 lads there.

"Lads are after leaving, lads went off to America, lads were choosing hurling but there were positions up for grabs.

"I think everyone upped their game by 20 per cent.

"They pushed for those places that were up for grabs and it's after bonding us together even more. We went into the Cork match with nothing to lose."

Kennedy has secured his spot as a Tipperary hurler but O'Brien - who was one of the minor and under-21 stars in Tipp's recent underage football resurgence - hasn't made an impression and would, according to O'Halloran, be welcomed back.

"Absolutely. I consider him one of the best midfielders in the country," he insists.

"As Liam (Kearns) said and we'd all say, the door is always open to anyone who wants to come back to us, which is only right to a point because we're not really a big footballing county and any player is welcome to come back.


"Football, senior, wouldn't have been strong in Tipperary for the last couple of years and I suppose they got the chance to play their hurling," he continues.

"Which they might have considered stronger. But, look, we've after getting to a Munster final and hopefully we can go down to Killarney and see what happens."

Tipperary got within six points of Kerry in last year's Munster SFC semi-final, though they're men down from that defeat and Killarney on Munster final day, as O'Halloran speculates, is a more daunting place to play than Thurles.

"Last year would have been my first time up playing senior football and when you come up against the experience, it's just played at a different pace altogether," he notes.

"They know when to go through the gears and up the pace when they have to.

"We'll go down and just play to the best of our ability and see what happens," O'Halloran adds.

"It's going to be very tough to go down there and try to get a win."

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