New Tipperary senior hurling manager Colm Bonnar watches the club action in Semple Stadium on Saturday between Drom & Inch and Upperchurch/Drombane. Photo: Eamonn McGee

Passionate Bonnar hungry for the task

By Shane Brophy

New Tipperary senior hurling manager Colm Bonnar doesn’t feel that the county cannot compete for All-Ireland’s starting next year, even if an overhaul of the team has to take place at the same time.

The Cashel native was confirmed as successor to Liam Sheedy last week and immediately set about his task of assessing new players for his first panel by attending a number of club championship games last weekend.

In an extensive interview with the Nenagh Guardian, the 2-time All-Ireland winner in 1981 and 1991, Colm Bonnar sees the value of experience as being hugely beneficial to Tipperary when trying to bring through some promising talent next year.

“From looking in, there is huge ambition in that dressing room,” he said.

“There is huge experience in the dressing room, and a lot of young lads in the dressing room. It is about trying to get that balance right.

“I would never tell a player you are too young or too old, if you come in with the right spirit, enthusiasm, drive and hunger that you want the jersey and want to create the best habits to put on that jersey, come up and give it a shot.”

Colm Bonnar is one of the longest serving players ever to don a Tipperary jersey, doing it for the first time in 1982 as an eighteen-year-old, winning an All-Ireland title, finishing in 2000 when he won an All-Ireland title at intermediate level at the age of 36.

That passion for wearing the blue and gold jersey is one of the characteristics Bonnar will look from a player as he puts a squad together in the coming months.

“I was 33 or 34 when I played centre back for Tipperary in the 1997 All Ireland Final, and then when my brother asked me back in 2000 to play for the Tipp intermediates, I couldn’t wait to get back in the car and drive up again as the joy of being in with a group of players that have a common bond and a common goal, training for something, and every training session I has I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

He added: “Age is only a number, and there might be a perception out there that we are in transition but to me we are not.

“What I am looking at is there is huge experience in that dressing room and young fellas who want to get into it as well, so it is about getting that balance.

“Things can happen very quickly and if you can get the right hop of the ball in a particular game, as we saw against Waterford, where Tipp had a late chance to win the game, who knows what could have happened. Hurling is a game of small margins all the time and players just need to know that and put themselves in the best shape possible for when the opportunity arises that they take it.”

More from Colm Bonnar on page 78