Michael Ryan says footballers are ‘the storyline of the summer’

Tipperary hurling manager Michael Ryan paid tribute to the county footballers’ “super achievement” in reaching the All-Ireland semi-final tomorrow.

The Premier footballers face Mayo in Croke Park and last night Ryan saluted their achievement as “the storyline of the summer”.

“It’s not something we talk about, we focus on ourselves as a group, but we share Morris Park with those lads, we know their names, they’re from our parishes... where we have hurlers, we have footballers.

“We’re delighted for them, because it’s there to be seen. They’ve been working hard and it’s great to see them get a break.

“Since the minors made a breakthrough in 2011, I think that’s been the impetus in Tipp football.

“Belief is a great thing and it’s a reward for those guys who’ve been pushing football for years, and push it they do.

“Even in my generation, we played minor and U21 football and I played senior, and you saw it at first hand, that it wasn’t supported. Whether it’s just tradition, it just doesn’t capture the support that hurling does, but that doesn’t make it any less of a game. It doesn’t mean that those guys immersed in it, and the players involved, that they’re any worse for it.

“It’s a super achievement to have the Tipp senior footballers in the All-Ireland semi-final and it is the storyline of the summer. We have no problem playing second fiddle to that.”

Ryan confirmed that, at this point, Tipp have a clean bill of health as they count down to an All-Ireland SHC final with Kilkenny on September 4.

He said: “We had a few bumps and bruises [after the All-Ireland semi-final], as you’d expect, they were quite tired. That was absolutely to be expected. We have nothing beyond superficial stuff. We’d call that a clean bill of health, because those are ferocious games. Some of the hits were worthy of the Aviva Stadium in March.”


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