Tipperary can overcome 'savage losses' - O'Dwyer
Published 10/12/2015 | 02:30
The Tipperary dressing-room will be a less familiar place in 2016.
Some of the regulars' pegs will suddenly be left unused. Once sacred seats in the dressing-room will be vacant.
John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer expected that some of those that played in 2015 wouldn't return. In all, they've lost Lar Corbett, Conor O'Mahony, James Woodlock and Shane McGrath, and with them goes a host of experience. Still, O'Dwyer believes they will compete in the new year.
"I had a fair idea about one or two (of the retirements)," O'Dwyer said. "They are going to be savage losses. Look, we have plenty of young lads coming through that are going to step up to the plate.
"Those lads are going to have to step up, but we are more than capable of doing it."
Combined with manager Eamon O'Shea's departure, it means there'll be a significant change in the Tipp set-up next year.
"Michael Ryan is his own person. It was great to have Eamon involved for the couple of years, but Michael Ryan is in and he's going to set his own stall on the panel," said O'Dwyer.
"There's a lot of people that's after being added to the panel and a few retirements, so it's up to Mick whichever way he wants to go about it.
"Previous management doesn't make a difference to what new management has. New management are going to have their own ideas. They will try to get their ideas across and the players (the same)."
Already incoming manager Ryan has put his stamp on things.
Seamus Kennedy, a key figure on the Munster Club Football Championship-winning Clonmel Commercials side, will turn his hand to hurling in 2016. Steven O'Brien, a powerhouse midfielder for the county football set-up, is also on board.
"I've hurled with Stephen before. He's different to what we already have in the panel. He'll add something different," said O'Dwyer.
"A couple of years ago he was on the panel. Things didn't work out and he went with the footballers. He is a good hurler."
And while there have been plenty of outgoings, O'Dwyer feels that the return of Noel McGrath to full fitness after recovering from testicular cancer will be like a new addition to the squad.
"What happened Noel last year was a shock to all of us. But he got himself right and he came on against Galway - the result didn't go our way but it was great to see that man get back onto the field, and to have him for the start of the year will feel like a new player.
"He's one of the biggest leaders on our panel so it will be great to have him there for the whole year."
O'Dwyer will spend the early part of the year with Cork IT as they set out to win the Fitzgibbon Cup but in the spring will return to a dressing room where he will be a more senior figure.
"I don't think there is any added pressure. I'd always consider myself one of the leaders on the team anyway," he said.
"You know, everyone is a leader, like, just the captain is the captain but everyone else leads by example then so I don't think there's going to be anything different this year.
"We'll turn around and do what the management ask of us and we'll do what we ask of ourselves as well. And we'll just see where that takes us."