Wednesday 18 October 2017

Lar's 'goalden' touch can lift Tipp's bid for glory – English

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

For Nicky English the equation is quite simple. If this Tipperary are to win another All-Ireland title, they will need goals. Lots of them.

And that's why, for all the slings and arrows that have headed his direction over the last 12 months, Lar Corbett is still their biggest ticket to that success.

Former Tipp hurler and manager English believes Corbett has already put a troubling 2012 behind him when he was "in the limelight too much".

English, who gave Corbett his inter-county break in 2001, feels his "historical" good relationship with new manager Eamon O'Shea will help him to regain past form too.

"Ultimately, if Tipperary are going to win the All-Ireland, they need to get goals, and Lar Corbett is the man that will do it. I think he's scored more goals than any man ever for Tipperary. He can still do it," said English, speaking at the launch of RePlay.

"I think he likes Eamon O'Shea and they get on well together. Historically, they have clicked. Everything I've seen of him in the league so far he did well."

English feels that Corbett's goals in successive matches, different in their execution, mark him out as a player who just wants to get on with the business of playing and put everything behind him.

"It was class," said English of Corbett's touch for the fourth Tipp goal against Galway on Monday.

"There's very few people capable of doing what he did there. And he did it casually. He's a great player.

"What happened in the semi-final last year, that's over. Ultimately we have to have Larry Corbett scoring goals, not marking a defender.

"If we're to prosper this year, I think he's going to be a key player. And whoever is going to mark him is going to have a job to do it. That's the bottom line. He's a key player for us."

English feels that the presence of Corbett on so many league teams so far this year augurs well for his form and points to a determined attitude to get on with it. Traditionally he hasn't played in so many back-to-back league games.

"Larry hasn't shown as much in the league previously, for a long time, as he's shown this year. So all the talk and criticism... I mean there's only one way to answer that really. For him, it's to settle down and get back into the background, in terms of publicity, and just do his job on the pitch.

"I think he will get on well with Eamon O'Shea. I wouldn't have thought that he got on badly with Declan (Ryan) and Tommy (Dunne).

"I think when he retired it put pressure on him (Ryan). He retired this time last year. I expected him back playing, as most people did. But that just piled pressure on himself. He was in the limelight too much really.

"This year it's more business-like from him. I won't say he's more contented, but it's just a better build-up from where he was coming from last year, where he wasn't training. You just can't do it. You have to be ready.

"He's coming through the pack this year and he'll turn up ready in June."

English feels it's wise to ignore the scale of some of the results that pop up in league matches at this stage of the season, citing Tipp's recent defeat to Cork and Galway's implosion against Kilkenny this time last year.

"Some of the league results in the last few years have been hard to understand. The Tipp players themselves didn't understand that one (Cork). They went down to do really well and it was over by half-time.

"For whatever reason they were totally off the pace. For the Kilkenny match they were absolutely on the pace. That's happened to Kilkenny against Galway last year," he said.

English said his circumstances with work are likely to always preclude him from a return to inter-county management in the future.

"You need to have a job which would suit being an inter-county manager. That's a full-time job effectively. It's not feasible for me to manage an inter-county team with my work commitments," he said.

As manager of the UCD Fitzgibbon Cup team, however, he had some interesting observations to make about the hurling ability of Dublin football full-back Rory O'Carroll.

"He could do a job for anyone, he could do a job for Kilkenny. He's an outstanding hurler," said English.

But he sees no future any more for the concept of the dual player.

"I'm sure if you go through the Dublin football team there's more than Rory O'Carroll that could make a difference to the Dublin hurling team. That's the way it is. The Dublin footballers are the big draw in Dublin."

• RePlay is a €2bn EU-funded project between scientists, sporting bodies including the GAA, cultural organisations and athletes that will use state of the art motion capture and sensor technologies to capture the styles of play and skills unique to Gaelic and Basque games and develop 3D interactive software that will be used to educate future generations about these culturally significant sports. It was launched by Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton yesterday.

Irish Independent

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