John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer put the disappointment of his 13th-minute red card aside to deliver a “powerful” half-time speech which inspired 14-man Tipperary to hold out against Limerick, Michael Breen has revealed.
Tipperary midfielder Breen had handed the home outfit a dream start with two goals inside the opening nine minutes, but the Premier County were rocked back on their heels when O’Dwyer was dismissed on a straight red card for striking Limerick corner-back Richie English.
O’Dwyer, who buried his head in his hands in the Tipperary dugout for several minutes following his dismissal, was praised by Breen for the manner in which he parked his own frustration to address the Tipperary team at the break.
“Bubbles spoke at half-time and he spoke powerfully,” said Breen.
“It was unfortunate to lose such a good player, but we had to just put the shoulder to the wheel. Bubbles came in at half-time and told us to do it for ourselves. We did ourselves justice after that.
“Bubbles is winning us games day in, day out. It was unfortunate for him but he put his own disappointment aside to come into us at half-time and drive us on for the second-half. That took something.”
Breen acknowledged that having to hurl for almost an hour with 14 men will stand Tipp in good stead for the challenge of Waterford on July 10.
“We practice in training that whatever the circumstances are, whatever is put in front of you, you just drive it on and work hard. Work-rate and attitude are two of the basics at this level. They are the things we build our performances on.”
And what of his two goals; Breen ghosting through from midfield to create and finish Tipperary’s first, and then on hand to flick Seamus Callanan’s saved effort to the net three minutes later?
“I was just in the right place at the right time. I’m always trying to make those runs forward and I got the scraps off Seamie. You take a chance with those runs forward and thankfully, they paid off. You just break through the middle and hope for the best. Nine times out of 10, that run might amount to nothing. The sliotar bounced for me.”
Pádraic Maher said Sunday’s contest was the type of tight game Tipperary needed to come out on the right side of.
“We would have to be delighted with our own character but that’s all well and good, we want to retain our Munster title. That was our aim at the start of the year. Step one was to get to a Munster final.
“There is a great bunch of lads in there and we showed we had good character which had been questioned over the last few years, but at least we are building on it because we know when things come to the crunch we need to knuckle down and we did that.”
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