PROFILE - Tipperary Senior Footballers - NENAGH GUARDIAN SPORT AWARD WINNER 2020
The stars aligned for Tipperary football in 1920 as they marked the centenary of Bloody Sunday 1920 in appropriate fashion by winning a first Munster senior championship in 85 years.
With the delay to the championship brought about by Covid-19, the restructured season saw the Munster Final pencilled in for the same weekend in November as the centenary anniversary of Bloody Sunday. However, they had to get their first and although on the opposite side of the draw to Kerry and Cork, Tipp had a significant challenge but impressed on defeating Clare in the Munster quarter final but had to show reserves of courage and belief to come from behind to defeat Limerick in extra time in the semi-final.
With Cork shocking Kerry in the other semi-final the following day, the chances of Tipperary doing what no other team from the county had done since 1935 increased and despite having to play the Munster Final in Cork’s own backyard of Pairc Ui Chaoimh, they led from pillar to post in a 0-17 to 0-14 win as captain Conor Sweeney lifted the Munster Cup.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Tipperary panel and management, vice-captain Steven O’Brien admitted they were very proud of what they achieved.
“There was definitely a huge sense of achievement,” Steven said.
“Playing football with Tipperary it was always the ambition to win a Munster Final. The occasion itself was surreal with no fans but that didn’t affect us during the game, but it did in the aftermath. In the immediate aftermath it was great as you had all the players and management coming straight in, so you didn’t think about anything else but when the trophy was presented you wanted to meet family members, but they weren’t there.
“What I found strangest was we all got straight back into our own cars outside Pairc Ui Chaoimh and being in car by myself and driving home like it was a normal game, but I did have a few songs on to get me going, the Galtee Mountain Boy was nearly on repeat going home.”