Tipperary minor hurling manager Liam Cahill believes that this is his dual players’ last chance of competing in two All-Ireland finals in the same year.
A total of nine Tipp players are involved with both the county minor hurling and football panels who have reached their respective All-Ireland deciders.
The hurlers face Galway on Sunday followed by the footballers’ clash with Kerry, a repeat of the Munster final, on September 20. Cahill admitted that he voiced his concern over the dual issue earlier in the year but relented when the players themselves asked for an accommodation to be made.
But he believes that when they exit the minor grade they will have to choose one code over another, echoing the call recently made by former Cork manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy.
“I would say that, definitely,” said Cahill. “It’s just too intense now, the level required for both and the game of hurling now in particular. You don’t get a second on the ball and you have to be so sharp to play hurling, and that’s no disrespect to football.
“It’s just that in football you get that extra second or two to get your composure. But in the modern game of hurling, if you’re not playing at that intensity all the time and if you think that you can pick up the hurley and go into battle, a battle like the Tipperary and Galway senior game a few weeks ago, you will be found out.”
Cahill said the multiple sports issue is not restricted to hurling and football with Alan Tynan, one of his dual players, a prominent rugby player also.
“I have a couple of guys who are interested in rugby and the tempo of that is a lot slower as well,” said Cahill.
“You’d see it earlier in the year when you started in February or March with fellas dabbling in a lot of codes at the time, say soccer, rugby, Gaelic football, their mindset and their speed is quite slow because they’re in other games where they get extra time on the ball and they have loads of ability but they’re not maybe as sharp as the fella that’s hurling all the time.
“That’s my point really, it’s not Gaelic football just, it’s rugby, it’s soccer and these guys have a tendency to play multiple sports. For hurling, you just have to play it at a high tempo and a high pace.”
Cahill, a former dual player himself who opted to concentrate on hurling as a minor, believes that Tipp will ultimately field talented teams in both codes at a high senior level in the coming years. “They should, they should because it’s a big county and I would say that the strength of football is that it’s growing quicker in the weaker football clubs than hurling is growing in the weaker hurling clubs.”
Minor hurling final opponents Galway have a full bill of health. Jack Grealish has overcome a bout of glandular fever while Cillian McDaid is back after a fractured finger.
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