Saturday 3 December 2016

Other teams will give Bubbles 'extra attention now' - Kelly

Michael Verney

Published 21/06/2016 | 02:30

2010 All-Ireland-winning captain Eoin Kelly. Photo: Sportsfile
2010 All-Ireland-winning captain Eoin Kelly. Photo: Sportsfile

Tipperarry legend Eoin Kelly expects future opposition to give John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer "extra attention" after Sunday's straight red card but he also believes it could benefit him in the long run.

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O'Dwyer received his marching orders in the 14th minute after lashing out at Limerick defender Richie English, and the Premier men were forced to dig deep minus one of their key scoring threats.

They ground out the win, but Kelly feels teams will target O'Dwyer's temperament and see if his cage can be rattled. However, he doesn't expect another reaction.

"I think other management teams will speak about it and say 'look, how can we get at Bubbles? Keep tight on him and that'. That's the modern game," he said.

"I think Bubbles will get extra attention but I think he'll be well able to deal with it. Tipp supporters will be eager to have him back because Tipp won't win an All-Ireland without him."

Given O'Dwyer's potency in front of the posts, space is often at a premium in attack and 2010 All-Ireland-winning captain Kelly (right) thinks the sending off will leave a dangerous "wounded animal" upon the 24-year-old's return.

"It actually might stand to him going forward; the Tipp forward line are lethal when they're in space. Richie English wasn't going to let him have that space and was up on his back, it probably frustrated Bubbles," he said.

"It's a learning curve. He'll learn quick. If Michael Ryan works on his fitness and gets his work-rate up, he'll really have a wounded animal for an All-Ireland quarter or semi-final."

Despite Noel McGrath filling the short-term void left by O'Dwyer on Sunday, Kelly expects his absence to be more significantly felt against Waterford in the Munster decider.

O'Dwyer hit three points from distance in last year's final and will be "a massive loss", one less weapon for Déise boss Derek McGrath to worry about.

Kelly thinks Jason Forde may step into the breach for a Tipp side which are beginning to mature.

"Forget about 2010, this is their own team and they're creating their own identity. They don't seem to be panicking, they were very settled in their play," he said.

One player to the fore against the Treaty was Padraic Maher, who gave his usual masterclass at the back, and he feels Tipp showed huge character to seamlessly play with 14 men for an hour.

"We showed great maturity. We knew straight away we needed to get through 10-minute blocks that we worked on ourselves and we knuckled down in the second half," the All-Star defender said.

"The way things are gone now we prepare for everything, even 15 on 16, 15 on 14, 14 on 14, you have to be ready for everything because every team brings a different challenge.

"Our character had been questioned over the last few years but at least we are building on it."

To hear more from Eoin Kelly, listen to our GAA podcast, 'The Throw-In', exclusively on independent.ie

Irish Independent

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