Quinlivan out to strike a blow for Tipperary football
Tipperary star Michael Quinlivan believes he and his Clonmel Commercials clubmates have a chance to make a "huge statement" when they face Nemo Rangers in Sunday's Munster Club SFC final.
Football in the county has been on the rise in recent years. Quinlivan was part of the Tipp minor team that stunned a much-fancied Dublin side in the 2011 All-Ireland final, while they also contested the All-Ireland minor and U-21 deciders earlier this year.
And Quinlivan sees the chance to strike another blow for the county and secure a first Munster Club SFC title in Mallow this weekend.
"I think it would be a huge statement, especially for club football in Tipp," he said.
"People have been saying it has been a bit weak over the last couple of years and that has been leading to a weak county team. A stronger club scene around Tipperary would definitely add to a stronger county team.
"If we could turn over Nemo at the weekend, hopefully it would pave the way for other Tipperary teams to do similar.
"There is some very good teams in Tipperary and we had to beat some very good teams to win the championship."
While Tipp football have made huge strides, it was also dealt a couple of body blows in recent weeks.
Quinlivan's Clonmel team-mate Seamus Kennedy will play solely for the county's hurlers next year with reports that Steven O'Brien might also turn to the small ball. Also, star man Colin O'Riordan has taken up a contract offer with AFL outfit the Sydney Swans.
Quinlivan was looked at by AFL scouts earlier in his career but nothing materialised. However, he has no doubt that O'Riordan will be a success Down Under.
"Colin has gone over there and if you got an opportunity to go over and play professionally in any sport, I think it's something that you definitely have to consider," he stated.
"Colin could set himself up for life over there. Personally, I think I've said it before, I think he'll make a name for himself over there.
"I know the mentality he'll bring to that Sydney Swans team. I'd love to see him playing over there. He is a superb talent. Obviously we'll miss him with Tipp and not only will you miss him on the field but off the field as well, he's a fantastic ambassador for Tipp. People do speak highly of him regardless of where he goes."
But despite those setbacks, Quinlivan believes Tipp can now be considered a serious dual county.
"I think we have garnered enough respect through what's happened with the football over the last few years that people are starting to consider us a serious dual county," he said.
"Obviously we still have a few stumbling blocks over the next couple of years to get to the level where we want to get to.
"It's nothing we feel we can't get past. I think the main thing for football in Tipperary is getting the backing of the people. We are culturally a hurling county, always will be and always have been. If we can garner maybe half the support that would be great for us."