Sunday 25 February 2018

'It's time for Tipperary footballers to make a big statement' - Browne

Two-time All Star Declan Browne
Two-time All Star Declan Browne

Jackie Cahill

With a full team, Declan Browne would give Tipperary "a brilliant chance" against Tyrone this afternoon.

But with Steven O'Brien, Ian Fahey and George Hannigan ruled out through injury, he's not so sure.

There's still a chance that O'Brien might feature but including the towering Ballina man would represent a gamble, as he's carrying a hamstring injury.

"It will be interesting to see how we adapt with the lads gone," reflects two-time All-Star Browne.

"You'd be hopeful that the lads coming in will be able to do the same job.

"Steven is a huge loss and when George went off against Kerry, we fell apart."

But Browne still insists that Tipp can grasp the nettle against the Red Hands, who visit Semple Stadium with memories of the controversial All-Ireland U-21 final clash between the counties still fresh in the mind.

That's not an evening that Browne is prepared to dwell on but, from a purely footballing viewpoint, the Moyle Rovers man believes it's time for Tipp to make a major statement.

"If we had a full team I'd say we'd win," he insists. "That's not being tongue in cheek - that's genuine.

"Obviously people are saying that Tyrone are on the slide but if Tipp took them out, it would be a savage win for our progress.

"Hopefully, after the U-21 final, we know what kind of game we're facing as well.

"I don't think we'll be naive going into it and we'll meet it head on.

"If we give it our all and play to our best, that's not problem but if we don't play well and come away from it thinking that we missed a chance, that's where the real regression starts. Whatever about the result, we need to play to a high standard and keep the momentum going.

"In the Kerry game (Munster semi-final), we kicked 13 wides but there were years when I played and we didn't get 13 chances in a game.

"Some of our lads came out of that and realised that they had a chance of taking Kerry.

"They (Kerry) weren't at full tilt but when the chance is there, you have to grasp it."

Tipp have reached the last 12 of the All-Ireland series in two of the last three seasons - but reaching a quarter-final is a big goal for an emerging team.

Browne said: "That's where we need to go. We need to take a big scalp.

"We had Galway last year, who I would consider a top team. We gave away stupid goals but still could have won the match.

"I genuinely feel we have to take out Tyrone - simple as that."

Colin O'Riordan is central to Tipp's chances of springing a surprise but the JK Brackens colossus played the full hour for the U-21 hurlers against Limerick on Thursday evening.

Browne is confident, however, that the 2014 football All-Star nominee will cope.

He said: "When you're that young, you want to play in every game anyway.

"He's expected to do that again 48 hours later and you're throwing a loss into the equation as well, which can mess with your head.

"But Colin won't use that an excuse. He'll be fit and ready.

"Peter Creedon will have been sweating on Thursday night that he didn't get a knock. It's the last thing he needed, Colin being injured.

"He's been carrying an injury (hip) into a lot of the games and that's not ideal either but Colin will give it his all."

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