Tuesday 19 March 2019

Relieved Michael Ryan hails Tipperary's 'sheer bloody-mindedness'

Michael Ryan celebrates Tipperary’s equalising point. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Michael Ryan celebrates Tipperary’s equalising point. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

From the shadow of a pathologist's glove, Tipperary's Championship was re-awakened through what manager Michael Ryan acknowledged as "sheer bloody-mindedness".

"Look, things need to turn for Tipp," he confirmed, his charges having stormed back from a nine-point half-time deficit to draw with Cork in Semple Stadium.

"We've had a tough time, big results haven't gone our way lately.

"But if we can keep everybody absolutely focused and absolutely driving for the single aim, I think we have a fighting chance in this Championship yet. It's a hugely important result, particularly in the context of where we were at half-time," he added.

Cork completely dominated the opening 35 minutes in a manner suggesting the torpor troubling Tipp in Limerick the previous week hadn't lifted. Yet they scored five unanswered points on the resumption and might well have won the game but for Anthony Nash's remarkable 68th minute diving, Killinan End save from 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer.

"We need to play at that level and above," said Ryan of next weekend's game against Waterford in Limerick.

"It's coming for us, but we need it to come now. We just have to fight this out as hard as we possibly can."

That nine-point midway deficit reflected a team that looked close to crisis.

"Look, it was a horrible first-half for us, Cork were all over us," confirmed Ryan.

"We were literally chasing shadows all over Semple Stadium. We didn't get to express ourselves or take control of any part of that first-half. It was just Cork, Cork, Cork.

"We were in dire straits to be honest with you. They had answers for questions we hadn't even asked."

What had he said at half-time?

"Some of it wouldn't be printable, but, look, what do you ever say? You're appealing to the characters that these guys are. They're made of way better stuff than that. We weren't in the least happy.

"To be honest with you, the bucket was holed everywhere at half-time. But only the collective could have turned that around."

Ryan denied that another defeat would have holed Tipp's summer ambitions irretrievably.

"No, we wouldn't give in," he stressed. "It wouldn't be in our DNA to give in or to accept it. We'll fight to the very end, to minute 72 of the fourth game or 73 or 74, whatever it takes. We will be working as hard as we possibly can trying to stay in this Championship. Same as the other four teams in Munster.

"We are all trying to fight for our lives."

Cork captain Seamus Harnedy had three points on the board inside the opening eight minutes, with Tipp's full-back line in apparent meltdown. Yet he denied any surprise at the sting in the Premier tail.

Describing his emotions as "mixed", Harnedy reflected: "We always knew Tipp would have their purple patch as well and fair play to them. Look, the boys showed fantastic character, we could easily be coming out here with nothing, but we've another point on the board, especially away from home.

"We knew they were going to come back at us, we wouldn't expect anything less. They've good characters, big characters in their team too. Thankfully we're coming out here with a point. We'll learn from today and move on."

Irish Independent

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