Sports

Tipp Return To Croke Park For Opening League Game

Thursday, 9 February 2017

TIPPERARY manager Michael Ryan believes that being All-Ireland champions doesn't make any difference to Tipperary. He says that the current league format of six teams in Group 1A leaves very little room for experimenting and that the games are competitive and generally good.
Ahead of their opening game against Dublin, back at the scene of their September All-Ireland triumph in Croke Park, on Saturday next (5p.m. throw in) the manager said that Tipp have two objectives, one, to be at the business end of the league and secondly to give as many players as possible a chance to impress adding that there is little room between relegation and reaching the knockout stages citing Galway last year as an example.
'That's a tag and you get that tag because we won the All-Ireland,' said Ryan. 'Somebody wears that every year and yet the league goes on like every other league since 2008. It's no different for us.
'Whatever it is about us, but people always love to beat Tipp. We go out to very game to win. We don't want to give anything away by losing to our neighbours in the hurling community,' admits the Tipp manager.
With the recent winter proving very mild and dry there is a danger that the next two months might bring poor weather and it may impinge of the performances. Five years ago, Tipperary travelled to Croke Park to face Dublin in the league and fog descended on the game for a ten minute period and snow cancelled the game against Kilkenny not once but twice at Semple Stadium.
'You could get the worst of winter weather right up to the end of March. You could have anything. That's just the vagaries of weather. The only thing is the quality suffers, the pitches suffer, it's part of hurling but nonetheless it's an earnest contest, and since the league format changed to a group of six in 1A, there is zero room for complacency.
'Look at Galway last year. Relegated! It could have been any of us. We teetered on that edge ourselves once or twice. It's so tight. The upside is that the games are really good and really important and have an edge in itself and it curbs our ability to experiment en masse,' said Michael.
Ryan went on to suggest that Tipperary has two objectives.
'We want to arrive at the business end of the league which is after five group matches a quarter final. The other is we want to give enough opportunities to the whole of the panel if possible,' declared Ryan.
Playing in Croke Park under lights adds its own personality to the game but Ryan admits he is not in favour of hurling under lights.
'I am not a fan of these evening games. There is no substitute for hurling played on a good pitch in daylight when the ball is flying. That's the kind of hurling I love to be involved in. The night time stuff is a bit forced or exaggerated. I don't think it's a true reflection of the game. That's a personal thing,' he added.
Injury Worries
Michael Ryan revealed that there are a few niggling injuries about the squad but nothing to really worry about. He said that Tipp were hurling up in UL and picked up a couple of knocks. Paudie Maher went over on an ankle but will be fine while Sean Curran also hurt an ankle but the true extent of the injury was not known at the time of print.

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