John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer: People are saying Tipperary are an old team, we're not old at all
Published 10/12/2015 | 07:43
The notion that Tipperary are an ageing side doesn't sit well with their ace attacker John "Bubbles" O'Dwyer and he hopes the Premier can silence their critics and claim Liam MacCarthy in 2016.
Next year will be six years since Tipperary completed a remarkable All-Ireland senior and U-21 double but despite threatening to dominate the game, they have failed to add to their senior haul.
Speaking at the draw for the 2016 Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup yesterday, which his Cork IT side will host, Dwyer was adamant that his county team-mates are coming into their prime and can claim more senior glory.
"Back in 2010 I think seven or eight of the starting team were 22 or younger and people are saying that we're an old team, we're not an old team at all," Dwyer said.
"Our captain Brendan Maher is only 26 and just because lads have been around a long time doesn't mean that we're an old team. Kilkenny have been around for the last 15 years and they're not going away.
"We're still young and there are more eager young fellas being added to the panel every year. We're going to give it one right good lash now this year."
Marquee names like Shane McGrath, Lar Corbett, Jame Woodlock and Conor O'Mahony recently hung up their boots and their absence requires more from the younger generation.
But the 2014 All-Star, widely regarded as one of the most technically gifted players in the game, has no doubt that they have quality leaders that can help steer things in the right direction.
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"They're four big losses to the panel, they'd be four big personalities in the dressing room but you can see it over the last number of years with all the younger lads coming through and stepping up," he said.
"And not only in the dressing room but also on the field as well so it's up to us to take on the mantle of that and create our own legacy with this team.
"Shane McGrath would've been one of the biggest voices in the dressing room and it's going to be up to a 21 or 22-year-old to step up and take that mantle and try to drive it on."
2016 will see a new Tipperary boss with Michael Ryan, a selector under previous manager Eamonn O'Shea, stepping up and the Killenaule forward envisages a smooth transition for Ryan.
"It could be good and it could be bad but I think myself it's going to be good," he said. "As a selector you're kind of just in the background but as a manager he can put his own stamp on the team.
The 24-year-old paid tribute to his predecessor O'Shea and was disappointed that they couldn't go the extra mile this year for a man who was held in particularly high esteem by the players.
Dwyer said: "Eamonn put an awful amount of work into it, he was travelling from Galway four or five nights a week to manage and train us and the effort he put in was huge.
"He did actually put in awful lot more effort than the players and the players saw that and we wanted to do it for him especially in his last year and against Galway, where he lives.
"But unfortunately it didn't work that way and there's a new management in place now and we'll just drive on for 2016."