Saturday 18 January 2020

Quinlivan never doubted Kennedy's class

Michael Quinlivan with the Opel Player of the Month award for July. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Michael Quinlivan with the Opel Player of the Month award for July. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Having grown up alongside Seamus Kennedy and witnessed his talent first-hand, Michael Quinlivan never had any doubt that his former Tipperary team-mate would make a significant impact when switching from football to hurling.

Kennedy's departure from Liam Kearns's squad caused much debate, along with Steven O'Brien's, but the St Mary's defender has looked like an old hand at half-back during his three Championship performances.

Quinlivan admits it was a "tough call" for one of his best friends to make but he has excelled despite not featuring during this year's League, while the Premier footballers have managed to reach the last four minus his influence.

"He actually rang me when Michael Ryan gave him a call and the two of us went and talked about it. What he said was he didn't want to be 35 looking back and saying, 'what if'. But, I always had the faith in his ability," Quinlivan said.

Read more: Mind games

"He never seemed to get the rub of the green over the last couple of years with the hurlers. This year he's just been rock solid and I'm hoping it keeps going for him this weekend now.

"The thing people don't realise is because we are so close as a Tipperary football group, he was walking away from a lot of the lads he had grown up with. It was a very, very tough decision for himself and Stevie [O'Brien].

"We're not a bitter group at all. At the end of the day he's still playing for Tipperary and that's the main thing. With [Clonmel] Commercials he was awesome the whole way through our championship.

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"We played six games outside of Tipperary and he was man-of-the-match in five of them so like he stepped it up to a level that I'd obviously seen at club level. He is a massive loss, as big as Steven."

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