Conor Sweeney (file photo). Evan Treacy/INPHO
conor sweeney

Cruciate operation and coach role for All-Ireland final awaits Tipp captain

Conor Sweeney will guide Abbey CBS, Tipperary town, into an All-Ireland football final this weekend.

CONOR SWEENEY IS using his time out of inter-county football to good effect as he guides Abbey CBS, Tipperary town, into an All-Ireland football final this weekend.

The 2020 All-Star full-forward suffered a cruciate ligament rupture in Tipperary’s League opener and is set to undergo knee surgery this month to repair the damage.

“I’m scheduled in for an operation on the 23rd of March,” said the Tipperary captain.

“I’m doing a bit of prehab at the moment to get my leg in good shape and then I’ll be getting stuck into the rehab after the operation.

“You’re looking at probably a nine-to-12-month period before I’m back on the field, which is going to be early next year.

“It wasn’t something you’d ever want to happen but these things do happen and you just have to get on with it.

“I’m not too fussed about it at the moment. I’ve a lot going on. I’m just trying to get on with it now and I’ll go for my operation and start the rehab and whenever I’ll be back, I’ll be back.

“I’ll obviously do my utmost to get back as quick as possible but I’ve a lot of other things going on as well between school and home so I’ve a lot to keep me going.”


Foremost on his mind is Saturday’s All-Ireland Senior B Football final as his side take on Tyrone opposition in St Joseph’s, Donaghmore, at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, Bekan (2.30pm).

The Abbey have been through all sorts of drama just to make it this far. They trailed 0-9 to no-score in their All-Ireland semi-final before forcing the game to extra-time and penalties.

Their Munster semi concluded with an even more stunning plot twist. They conceded a last-gasp goal to lose the game, with the referee blowing for full-time before an umpire called the ref in. After consultation, the goal was disallowed for a square ball and Abbey advanced.

Their Munster final spot was in doubt until the evening beforehand with an appeal going to the GAA’s Disputes Resolution Authority. They left it suitably late in that final before a 1-4 burst ensured a ninth provincial title.

“It’s gas. In every one of our games, it’s always just been mad. It’s been helter-skelter,” said Sweeney, who is part of the management team alongside Seán Mullins and Kieran Hickey.

“We’ve had to hang in there, we’ve had to pull it back from the death, we’ve left too many games too close coming down the stretch. That’s something we’re hoping to avoid on Saturday.”

There is both a Tipperary and Limerick influence in a school that has All-Ireland-winning hurling manager John Kiely as principal.

Their team features underage footballers from both counties, including penalty-saving hero Robbie McGrath, captain Paddy Downey, and full-forward Conal Grogan.

“They’ve shown great resolve and a great willingness to stay in the fight. Many other teams could’ve downed tools or thrown in the towel but not our guys.

“They have that never-say-die attitude and we’ll be looking for more of the same this Saturday.

“The hope is to start well and be in the game coming down the stretch. We’ll see where it takes us then.”

To a dramatic finale, no doubt.

- Updated with change of time and venue.

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