Tipperary U21 hurling captain, Colin English has hailed the character of his team to recover from the 13-point loss to Cork in the Munster final and claim the All Ireland title.
Cork stormed into the game in the Munster final in Pairc Ui Chaoimh last month, enjoying a 1-5 to 0-2 lead after just 14 minutes. English admits that the game was effectively over after the opening minutes but was delighted at the way the Premier County started the game in last night’s final.
“We knew coming out of Cork that we never got hurling and I suppose in essence, the game was over after the first five minutes. We didn’t justify the preparation and the potential that we had.”
Despite Tipperary’s early lead, Cork were gifted a purple patch in the latter stages of the first half with Conor Cahalane and Declan Dalton particularly impressive. A number of mistakes from Tipperary allowed the Rebels to lead by two points at half-time.
“I think we stopped hurling for the 10 minutes before half-time. We were coming out with the game plan to just tear into them from the start and there was no way we were letting them build up a lead like they did in the Munster final.”
“Coming out at half-time we knew that Cork were after coming back into the game in a big way and we had to go out and make a statement straight away so we’re just delighted with it.”
Cork were firm favourites going into the final in Gaelic Grounds but English is delighted with the heart that his side showed to continue fighting until the end. The returning Brian Turnbull and Tim O’Mahony put the Rebels ahead by one point with minutes remaining in the game but Tipperary’s substitutes came to their rescue. Conor Stakelum bundled the ball into the back of the net before David Gleeson scored an insurance point.
“We said it from the start of the year, the courage and the character of this team, you could never write us off. Coming in we were underdogs, I suppose we’re underdogs all year and rightly so after the Munster final but with the heart and desire in this team, we weren’t letting that one get away.”
“It means absolutely everything. Tipperary is an unbelievable hurling county and to see everyone out there today and to see young kids going mad over the cup and grown adults in tears, it’s just unbelievable. This is what Tipperary hurling people deserve. We’re absolutely delighted, couldn’t be happier.”