Monday 20 November 2017

O'Driscoll wary of Premier potential as Rebels seek five in a row

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Intercounty football tends to be a family affair for Cork's Brian O'Driscoll and tonight's EirGrid Munster U-21 final clash with Tipperary won't be any different.

When he has been in with the senior side, his brothers Colm and Kevin are there, and all three played together for the first time when Brian came on as a sub in the league clash against Monaghan.

With the U-21s, his father Gene is the coach of a side looking to win a fifth Munster title on the bounce.

They go into tonight's game as clear favourites after beating Darragh O Se's Kerry side but O'Driscoll has too much first hand experience of losing to Tipperary to take them for granted at Semple Stadium.

"Tipperary beat us in the 2011 Munster (minor) final in Killarney and they beat us again the following year in Pairc Ui Chaoimh," O'Driscoll recalled.

"They are a very hard team to beat and if you are not at your best you won't beat them.

"They're tough and physical. They have a lot of good players - I think five or six involved in their senior team, which has really improved over the last few years."


No matter how tonight's final goes, O'Driscoll will have to refocus quickly for the Rebels' league semi-final clash against Donegal, but that will be put to one side until after the Tipp clash.

"It's nice that the seniors are going well but when you're with the 21s you have to focus solely on the 21s," he said.

"If your concentration lapses for even a week you're going to be (found) out because the games are coming thick and fast. You have to be tuned in for every game. You can't be concentrating on two things at once."

O'Driscoll is looking to gather his fourth Munster U-21 medal.

However, unlike his two brothers, an All-Ireland in the grade has eluded him thus far.

"The brothers have the bragging rights at the moment," he agreed. "I can't be thinking too far ahead to All-Irelands because if you're not fully focused for Tipperary they will turn you over.

"They have some very good footballers that won an All-Ireland minor and some of those players did well in the 2012 minor. We'll just have to get stuck in.

"We seem to be on a nice roll in Munster but you know Tipperary are a very good team and they could easily put a stop to that run.

"You can't read too much into this going for five-in-a-row - if you do, you'll find yourself out of the championship with nothing."

Irish Independent

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