Tipperary minor football manager John McNamara.

Tipp learn the hard way of the need to be clinical

By Liam Hogan

Tipperary manager John McNamara could not hide his disappointment after he watched his side fall to Cork in the Munster Minor Football semi-final which brought their campaign to an end.

Yet, he was philosophical to admit that Tipp are learning and will need to learn more if they are to dance with the big boys.

“Tipperary lost the corresponding game in the opening ten minutes last year. This year they lost in the last ten. You can’t win,” he mused after the final whistle.

This year he watched his men go toe to toe with Cork but the concession of two of the goals in the 49th and 50th minutes turned the game in the visitor’s favour.

“Cork had a real battle tonight and all the way to the end we kicked off the last few scores,” McNamara


“To be fair Cork were clinical at the right time. they picked off those goals when it looked as if we might be on the ascendency, and you have to hand it to them. That is something we now have to earn,”

“That part of the development of these boys. You could not ask for more heart, determination, drive and desire and everything combined with no little skill either. If we could translate that into a few extra scores, a few goals, then we start to dance with the big boys.”

McNamara agreed that one could not but enjoy the play and speed of Michael Connellan, Billy Tierney, and James O’Keeffe at half back. Both Michael O’Reilly and Sean Lewis enjoyed periods of brilliance at midfield while Louis Coughlan, Liam Freaney and in particular Shane Ryan really shone, not just in here but in the previous rounds also.

“They were brilliant to watch but that is modern football,” added the Tipp boss.

“They really need to run at teams and make them make mistakes and cause issues. However, we do need to work on the offload and work on what happened next in transition.

“Our full back line of Ronan Myles, Shane Flanagan and Cillian Ryan really worked their socks off. I said it before from the very start that our full backline never let us down. We cannot forget that our actual full back, Liam Kiely went for an operation this week on his knee after he was injured in the Waterford game. He was outstanding all year.

“We always talked about the team and the boys who took to the field were playing for the boys sitting in the stand. that’s how they approached each game.”

Apart from the two goals that turned the game in Cork’s favour there was an incident close to half time when Emmett Bonner (another shining star) was denied a goal chance by Cork defender Matthew Aherne who used his foot to block the ball?

“The incident was explained to me after the game,” McNamara revealed.

“The officials read it that the Cork defender didn’t lift his foot off the ground so technically I can understand why it wasn’t given as a foot block. My concern was a leg injury to Emmett Bonner but thankfully that did not happen.”

The Clonmel Commercials clubman agreed that while Tipp played very well there was at times when one extra pass close to opposition goal might have been put to better use when popping the ball over the bar might have paid better dividends.

“This is part of the learning,” he added.

“They are learning all the time and hopefully as they get older and stronger their kicking distances will improve. This minor team provided much enjoyment and their parents stood proud at the perimeter to wish them well. We must continue to keep an eye on them,” he said, but was non-committal as to his plans for next year.