Ciarán McDonald: To get young lads playing football, they need to see it’s worthwhile

Fail to prepare, prepare to... you know the rest.

Tipperary’s footballers were going to live and die by that decree against Derry on Saturday.

Ciarán McDonald, for one, had his homework done on Mark Lynch.

“They did a lot of video work for me,” he said of the Tipp backroom team. “I had 10 or 15 videos of him so it makes it easier when you know what they’re doing.”

Even if Lynch did grab a first-half goal, the study was worth it.

Beating Derry put a stop to the chatter that the Munster semi-final win over Cork was put into the shade by their below-par showing against Kerry.

“Everyone was saying it was just poor Cork side when it wasn’t — we just played well on the day.

"Cork are a good side and they can progress as well. We needed to show that it wasn’t just a flash in the pan and that we are capable of kicking a few balls now and again when the hurls go down!

“For football in Tipp, we needed to show we are a last-eight team and personally I think we are. Fair enough, the draw was good but to get young lads playing football they need to see it’s worthwhile and there are cups to be won.

"Certainly, the capacity to win football and hurling titles is in Tipp because there is serious talent.”

As one of those who endured some of Tipperary’s dark days, McDonald can testify to the change in attitude around the set-up this last while.

“Everyone is a bit more clued in. I still find it hard to believe I’m one of the oldest on the team and I’m still only 27. I was always the youngest but now I’m looking down at fellas born in 1997 or something crazy!”

McDonald knows a thing or two about Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final opposition having studied medicine in NUI Galway.

“Galway are a great bunch. I was in college there. I’d know a handful of them and they are nice lads and (Gareth) Bradshaw is a serious player — he was our captain at Sigerson.

"David Wynne played with me at Sigerson and I played International Rules with one or two of the boys. I thought they have underperformed the last few years and I was happy to see them win Connacht. I sent them a few texts of congratulations because it is my adopted county.”

Meanwhile, Galway’s Cathal Sweeney is out of this weekend’s clash and could be sidelined for the remainder of the year. The defender suffered a recurrence of a dislocated shoulder and may have to undergo surgery to resolve the issue.

“It’s not looking good for Cathal at the moment but the key thing now is to make sure the injury is resolved and that he comes back fitter and stronger,” remarked Galway manager Kevin Walsh.

“It’s a blow to Cathal and the team but we will work with him and get it sorted out.”

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