DECLAN RYAN HOPES that Tipperary’s old guard will regroup to fight another day after their All-Ireland semi-final hammering by old rivals Kilkenny.
Seven of the Premier squad named in yesterday’s 4-24 to 1-15 defeat are now aged 30 or older, and though there is no shortage of young talent driving the county on, Ryan is keen to retain some of his more experienced heads as well.
“The dressing room in there is a lonely, lonely place to be,” the manager told TV3′s Kieran McSweeney after Sunday’s defeat in Croke Park.
“There’s a lot of very, very disappointed — proud and disappointed — Tipperary players and management and people in general in there.
“Hopefully none of the older guys will make any rash decisions. There’s a lot of very proud Tipperary guys that have given a lot, true warriors.”
Ryan singled out the contribution of Toomevara’s John O’Brien who lined out at full-forward days after burying his older brother. Tommy O’Brien passed away suddenly at the age of 43 on Tuesday.
“I’d like to pay a particular tribute to John O’Brien for togging out today. His family have been through a rough few days there and it just shows you the kind of courage that Johno has so well done.”