Friday 9 December 2016

Kearns bidding to bring Acheson back early from Dubai

Published 25/11/2016 | 02:30

Tipperary manager Liam Kearns. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Tipperary manager Liam Kearns. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Tipperary football manager Liam Kearns will use the GAA/GPA All-Stars tour to Abu Dhabi to sell the idea of a quicker than planned return home to their Dubai-based midfielder Peter Acheson.

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Acheson confirmed his departure to the Middle East in the immediate aftermath of Tipp's defeat to Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final in August. His importance to their continued progress, however, will move Kearns to put the case to him in the coming days, the manager said yesterday.

But already the squad expansion has been proceeding.

"We had no depth to our panel last year but we have an awful lot of new players in. There are up to 15, that weren't involved for various reasons," Kearns explained.

The promising Diarmuid Foley and Liam McGrath have joined, there are players from county champions Loughmore now in the mix, full-back Paddy Codd has returned, while the four players who left for the US after the League - Ross Mulcahy, Kevin Fahey, Jason Lonergan and Liam Casey - have also committed.

Kearns is insisting on full commitment in 2017. In other words, no mid-season withdrawals this time.

"Anybody that can't commit for the year is not included. That was a huge blow to us considering what we put up with in the League," he warned.

"To find that four players who had been key performers, who were in our 21. . . to see them heading off to America was a huge blow. It knocked us sideways for a couple of weeks.

"So we've definitely said anybody that's going to America or can't give the commitment, we need to know now so that we can make a decision on it. And, more or less, our decision is that we won't use them."

Kearns feels the issue of players leaving to go to the US after provincial championship exits could be resolved if they are compelled to declare much earlier in the season that they will be going.

"I think the only way they can stop it fully is you have to declare if you're going to America, you can't play football for your county," he said.

"We want to know who's going away and who isn't and if they're not committing, we're kind of saying to them, 'look lads, we need full commitment here'."

Kearns admitted Tipp focused on Steven O'Brien's situation for too long last season. O'Brien committed to the hurlers but saw little action, fuelling the hope that he might return and it has been confirmed that he will be with the hurlers again in 2017.

Irish Independent

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