Colin O’Riordan has air of confidence as Tipp face Kerry

Eirgrid Under-21 Player of the Year says he’s fit to play despite hip injury

Colin O’Riordan of Tipperary  after being named the EirGrid GAA U21 Player of the Year. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Colin O’Riordan of Tipperary after being named the EirGrid GAA U21 Player of the Year. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

 

There’s a strong air of confidence about the Tipperary team set to face Kerry in Sunday’s Munster Championship semi-final, and much of it seems to be stemming from the young midfield partnership of Colin O’Riordan and Steven O’Brien.

O’Riordan was yesterday named as the EirGrid Under-21 Player of the Year for 2015 and first and foremost shook off any doubts that he would feature this weekend due to a recurring hip injury.

“I went down for scans and they were all fine. I’d say when it comes to the off-season this year I’ll have to go for a bit of hip surgery. It’s only a little impingement so I’m hoping I’ll only be out for two months. It’s just a small bit of scraping out.”

Common injury

It’s a common injury and one that kept O’Riordan out for eight months after winning the All-Ireland Minor Football title in 2011. Despite that, the UCD student’s focus is firmly on Semple Stadium this Sunday.

O’Riordan is one of a tight group of players that have made the move up the ranks from minor to Under-21 and on to senior level in Tipperary football, and it’s interesting that he consistently refers to them as a one group.

That group has quite a different mindset when it comes to Kerry, in comparison with the senior players who have suffered years of heartbreak against the Kingdom.

“We’re coming up from having great years with minor and Under-21 so we’re bringing our belief to them and they’re feeding off us. I suppose you would kind of notice that they were thinking that going down there and getting within a point or two would be good enough but a moral victory is no good to us.”

Break the monopoly

It’s that confidence of youth that has injected a breath of fresh air into the Tipperary football panel and given them belief that, along with Clare who have also made impressive strides, they can break the Munster Championship monopoly held by Cork and Kerry.

Despite that, O’Riordan very much buys into the idea of reinvigorating the provincial championships with a major overhaul.

“Are the provincial championships really going anywhere?” he says.

“Dublin are dominating Leinster, Cork and Kerry did dominate Munster over the last few years and Mayo are dominating in Connacht. There are so many mismatches I don’t know if it’s working anymore.”

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