When David Power got in touch with Philip Ryan about joining the Tipperary football panel 12 months ago, there was initial interest.
Now the former All-Ireland winner with Dublin is in the Premier ranks as they aim to back up their remarkable 2020 campaign.
“He has very sound Tipp connections,” said Power. “His father is from Tipp. Tommy Ryan, his uncle was on the 1971 team that won the All-Ireland hurling [title] with Tipp. I think he scored the winning goal, or he scored a goal anyway.”
“He has strong Tipp roots there.
“At the start of this year, he decided to give it a go with Tipp. So that’s how it came about.
“To be fair to Philip, he has a hunger that he wants to achieve at senior inter-county level.
“I suppose he wants to prove to himself that he is at that standard, so we are certainly going to give him that opportunity.”
As the reigning Munster champions prepare for their Division 3 campaign, Power is hopeful that Ryan can give the team a bounce.
“He has only been down with us for four weeks,” he said.
“I am sure we will see some benefits. Hopefully, if he is with us for the next couple of years we will see big benefits from being involved with a serious set-up like Dublin.
“He is a great lad. He is really looking hard and he is looking forward to getting some game-time during the league.”
The knockout format in 2020 was kind to Tipperary, as they sealed a historic provincial triumph. However, Power feels change is needed to the format.
“I think what’s really important is what’s going to happen next year or the following year,” he said.
“Even though winning the Munster Championship was brilliant, I think it does need a bit of a change. Now, I do think there is definitely room for the provincial championship, because winning the Munster Championship for the first time in 85 years has been huge.
“The only big disappointment is that we haven’t really been able to spread the gospel in terms of getting the cup around to all the schools in the county.
“Hopefully with time that will happen as well. I think that’s important. Obviously, football is number two in Tipperary.
“Any time we get a win like that, we certainly have to make the most of it.”
Tipp face Limerick this weekend in their opening match of 2021, and they are looking to continue their momentum.
“We played Offaly in the first league match back after Covid. We won that match and we went on a five-match winning streak, which is tough going for Tipp football. It’s not usual that you’d get a run like that,” admitted Power.
“The importance of this first game is if you can get that win, not so much the performance.
“The way the league is this year, it’s about getting results to be honest with you, and hopefully the performance will start looking after itself over time.
“There is certainly a hunger there and we definitely won’t be taking Limerick for granted after what happened in the Munster semi-final. It was a very tight affair.”
And having hit the ground running upon the return to training in recent weeks, Tipp are hoping for another memorable season.
“There was a great positivity. There was a great buzz. I think they were just tired of training by themselves,” said Power.
“To be fair to Robbie Cannon, the strength and conditioning coach, Amy Maguire the nutritionist and Susan Giblin, the performance coach, they did great work this offseason and the lads have come back in really good shape, from a conditioning point of view and hopefully now they will continue on with the type of work they are putting in, starting on Saturday with Limerick.
“That’s the big one for us. We can’t look beyond the Limerick match.
“This year we are probably going to be favourites in the opening three league matches and Tipp have struggled in those situations for the last number of years.
“I think we have to use the confidence of winning the Munster Championship last year in the right way.”
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