Sunday 24 September 2017

Cooney insists Tribe don't fear Ryan's 'frighteningly good' side

Conor Cooney:
Conor Cooney: "“I’m at a stage where I can get myself to a level of fitness where I can feel I’m more competitive." Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

It's a "strange system", Conor Cooney concedes. Win in the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday and Galway will be League champions, but they'll still start their 2018 campaign in Division 1B.

Cooney feels that the 26-point wins over the likes of Laois and Offaly they enjoyed earlier in the spring are of little use to any of the sides involved.

"It's a very strange system," Cooney said ahead of the League final clash with Tipperary.

"Division 1A is very competitive and it's probably a great competition in some ways, but it does have its flaws - there's no perfect system.

"In the last few years it's been a Division 1B team that has gone on (to win the League). Maybe that's down to how tough and competitive Division 1A is, but I'd be lying if I didn't think it was strange.

"Fair dues, Wexford beat us and they deserve to be up there, so we can have no complaints."

Cooney has missed enough hurling over the last few seasons not to complain too much about playing matches, regardless of what the format is like.

Operation

Two serious foot injuries and an operation on a troublesome hip meant that 2014 and 2015 were more off than on.

"I was getting very frustrated, in that I could train two evenings in a row and it'd feel like I won a match or something. It'd feel like a little victory in itself. But I'm definitely enjoying my hurling more," he said.

"I'm at a stage where I can get myself to a level of fitness where I can feel I'm more competitive.

"Sometimes when you're struggling with injuries and different things you're just trying to get your stamina up and maybe your hurling is suffering."

Cooney's clean bill of health has led to some excellent form. He was the top scorer from play in the win over Limerick last weekend, hitting 1-4.

Now the Tribesmen move on to the latest instalment in one of the most interesting rivalries in hurling of late.

"We have been competitive with Tipperary the last number of years. Two years ago we nipped them by a point in the All-Ireland semi-final and last year they nipped us by a point," said Cooney.

"They are All-Ireland champions and you have to respect that.

"They have been firing on all cylinders throughout the League, they have been frighteningly good. They have some exceptional forwards and have been putting up big scores.

"But we are not going to fear anyone, we are not going in with any inferiority complex. We will be up for it."

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