“All these proposals coming out about hurling and changes — don’t change something that is not broken.”
John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer’s opinions on the motions that could affect the game at GAA Congress are shared by many of his fellow inter-county players. As a sideline cut expert, he even opposes the recommendation to make a converted one worth two points.
“It is a skill, and a lot of lads are able to do it. Obviously, if I was in a position where we were a point down in a county final or a Munster final or something like that, and I had a chance. I would be confident of doing it and winning it for you. But I don’t think it warrants anything more than the one point.”
Concussion is also on the agenda of Congress with a motion seeking to allow a temporary substitution for a head injury. O’Dwyer revealed that he has experience of the condition.
“I’ve been concussed twice before. I was concussed for a league game for Tipp and in a college game. In the college game, we didn’t have a doctor with us so I played on. That was back to 2014. I actually won a free, got up and took the free and missed the ball and I got taken off after that.
“Concussion is huge but there are a lot of protocols. I can’t speak for any other teams but with our team doctor [Brendan Murphy] if there is any sort of unfamiliarity he whips you off.
“A good few [Tipp] lads have had them. It’s a contact sport and obviously players don’t go out to hurt someone or give him a dig in the head but if it happens, it happens. Barry [Heffernan] has had a few, Niall [O’Meara] has had a few — it’s just about taking your time after you get them.”
Where O’Dwyer does see scope for change is in the fixture list, as Tipperary’s game against Galway has been rescheduled to Sunday week after their clash originally fixed for February 16 was postponed due to high winds.
The league’s January start doesn’t help, he feels.
“We had two weeks training before our first league game this year. Maybe the league might need to be shortened or the pre-season competitions, or just get rid of or something. It’s not ideal to be playing your first competitive game on January 26.”
With just two points on the board, the All-Ireland champions must beat Waterford in Thurles on Sunday and Galway in Salthill the following week to remain in the race for a knock-out spot. The 28-year-old maintains winning a League medal is an aspiration of his.
“For a county like ourselves, the pride is in winning. It’s pretty bleak — 12 years without a league title. I’ve lost three finals, two to Kilkenny and one to Galway and in those three league finals, I’d say we weren’t in a position to win. I have everything else so it’s the only medal that’s missing.”