David Power believes Tipperary have proven themselves as a genuine football force at minor level after they qualified for the county’s fourth Munster MFC final in five years with Wednesday night’s semi-final win over Cork.
Power also admits he was uncertain at the start of this season as to whether his players would still have the hunger after winning the All-Ireland title last September.
“I’m delighted and if we don’t win another game this year, we’re at least after proving ourselves now after beating Kerry in Tralee and Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
“It shows that we’re consistent and we’re continuously getting to play in the All-Ireland quarter-finals in August. We’re in our fourth Munster final in five years which is an unbelievable achievement for a so-called hurling county.
“There’s massive work being done at underage level and it’s great to see. We’re very fortunate to have so many of them back playing this year again. But that was the toughest part to find out whether they were happy after winning Munster minor and All-Ireland minor medals. They showed there that they still have the heart and drive for it.”
Tipperary’s players now face a packed schedule with six of the team that started on Wednesday night — Bill Maher, Dylan Fitzell, Jack Shelly, John McGrath, Steven O’Brien and Jason Lonergan — having played in the county’s Munster MHC first round win over Kerry recently. They face Waterford in a semi-final showdown in that competition on June 29. Power insists the welfare of the players is of most importance.
“I’ve always said if a player wants to play hurling and football, that’s great. Of course it’s difficult as we want them every night. We have to sit down now and plan for the next few weeks. These are elite players and we have to mind them. We can’t kill them.”
Power has also drafted in a bunch of U17 players to provide them with experience.
“We had to with the dual aspect. We brought in around eight 17-year-olds and I want to thank them because they kept it going and that’s important. You have to keep blooding and thinking about the future.”
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