Former Tipperary goalkeeper Paul Fitzgerald gives his thoughts on the Sydney Swans granting Colin O’Riordan permission to play in the Munster SFC final clash with Cork, as the Premier chase a first provincial title since 1935.
BY SHANE STAPLETON
Former Tipperary goalkeeper Paul Fitzgerald insists that people should not expect Colin O’Riordan to give a complete performance in the Munster SFC final against Cork.
Sydney Swans granted the 25-year-old permission to line out in the provincial decider, after previously turning down a request to do so.
O’Riordan was seen as the future of Tipp football after being nominated for an All Star in 2014 and then being named Under-21 player of the year a season later, before opting for a life in the AFL.
Having spent some time training with David Power’s squad in recent times during the Aussie Rules off-season, Tipp have now been granted access to the Templemore native.
Fitzgerald played alongside O’Riordan for the 2014 season, and explains how the then teenager quickly established himself as a leader in the dressing-room.
The Fathard clubman calls him a “special player” and a “special talent”, but has warned that it might be asking a little too much for O’Riordan to pick up where he left off.
Mark Keane, who was given permission by Collingwood to play for Cork last weekend, may have scored the winning goal for the Rebels against Kerry but otherwise had been a peripheral figure.
By a similar token, Fitzgerald is preaching caution heading into the Munster final, where Tipp will be looking to win the title for the first time since 1935.
“Can you ever remember another touch that Mark Keane got in the game?” says Fitzgerald.
“That worked out well, but it’s probably unfair to be looking for a complete performance from him.
“He’s not going to win it on his own, so many other things have to go right.
“The Mark Keane thing probably triggered something again, and all the lads are after having a few games now and that momentum…
“To come into a final with no game played, at that level, is a big ask. If anyone is capable of doing it, it probably is Colin.”
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