'A little bit irresistible' - Tipp boss Ryan hails the fantastic Bubbles O'Dwyer and Seamus Callanan
“A LITTLE bit irresistible,” was victorious Tipperary manager, Michael Ryan’s, appraisal of John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer’s performance today in Croke Park.
Restored to the Tipperary starting line-up after something of a shock exclusion from the team that beat Galway in the semi-final, O’Dwyer produced several moments which illustrated his sublime skills.
Not least that 49th goal, the one that set Tipp on their way to a brilliant victory over their historical bête noire, Kilkenny.
O’Dwyer rounded no less a marker than Paul Murphy before slamming a low shot past Eoin Murphy in the Kilkenny goals and generally, sparkled on Tipp’s day of days.
“For the last three weeks since the Galway game, Bubbles has been in outstanding form,” a naturally jubilant Ryan reflected afterwards.
“Even prior to that he has been in really good form. He was there on merit.
“There are no freebies in our training world. We pick on merit and he just showed us something.
“Timing is everything and he was in great form. As you can see out there today he was a little bit irresistible.
“That touch of class, the ball was sticking for him and that makes a huge difference for a player.”
Along with Seamus Callanan (0-13, 3f, 1 ’65) and John McGrath (1-3), O’Dwyer was reinstated to a Tipperary inside forward line that scored a whopping 2-21 against Kilkenny, on an afternoon when almost everything they touched seemed to turn to raised flags.
By comparison, Kilkenny’s full-forward division combined for just 1-2.
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“He is certainly not going to get given out to,” joked Ryan of Callanan’s display, surely worthy of tonight’s official RTÉ Man of the Match award.
“He is a quality player. He was almost a one-man show 12 months ago against Galway and yet he didn’t score three weeks ago against Galway. So it just shows how it all ebbs and flows.
“You can never write a guy off because opposition can nullify a guy like Seamus. It can be done.
“He made a huge contribution. Nine points is outrageous to be honest with you. A savage score from a full-forward and he epitomised the workrate up there. They just stayed at it. That was the key for us today.”
Notably, Tipperary savaged the Cats defence in possession, scoring six first half points off direct turnovers and plenty more besides in the second half.
Asked whether that had been a pre-match tactic, Ryan replied: “Not purposefully but nonetheless this is what we call intensity these days, where you are putting that kind of pressure on the backs.
“There is nothing revolutionary about forwards working that hard. That is exactly what every team in the country sets out to do.
“We just seemed to get to the pitch of it a lot more today. The workrate was fantastic. To a man they all contributed.”