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From former Tipperary teammates and roommates to current selector and scoring star

Declan Fanning and Seamus Callanan are hoping to steer Tipperary to success.

THE LAST PART of Declan Fanning’s Tipperary senior career overlapped with the first steps being taken by Seamus Callanan in his.

ejKs8tW9 Tipperary selector Declan Fanning and key forward Seamus Callanan.

2008 saw Callanan make his debut and 2010 saw Fanning hang up his boots.

Fanning started in that gripping 2010 All-Ireland decider with Callanan coming off the bench to hit 0-2 in the success over Kilkenny.

Now Fanning is a Tipperary selector of a team where the attack pivots around Callanan.

The Drom-Inch club man has been transformed from a peripheral Tipperary forward to the focal point of their forward line over the past two years.

Callanan has bagged All-Star awards in the past two seasons with his explosive scoring contributions underpinning his great form.

  • 2014 league: 5-62 from 7 games
  • 2014 championship: 9-50 from 7 games
  • 2015 league: 3-45 from 7 games
  • 2015 championship: 5-20 from 3 games

Seamus Callanan celebrates scoring the first goal of the game Seamus Callanan celebrates scoring a goal for Tipperary against Galway last August Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Fanning always felt Callanan had the capability to make such an impact.

“I remember we used to always room together when I was involved. You could just see from the very minute he came in he was a very confident player.

I wouldn’t say cocky, but really, really confident in his own ability.
And I think he loves being a central player and once he got that central position he took on a leadership role.

“He’s a very, very professional guy on and off the pitch. He looks after himself.”

Fanning speaks of Callanan’s reaction to not starting in the 2010 final as proof of his mentality.

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“It was in the dressing-room on the Thursday night before the All-Ireland. The team was after being named and we all went in.

“Like we did every Thursday night before a big game, we would have spoken together and Seamus spoke that night.

It would have been very easy for him to have his head dropped in the corner and make it all about him, but he didn’t, it was all about the team.
You just felt something was going to happen with the way he spoke that night.

“And he came on that day and he was excellent. I think I slagged him afterwards that when he did a long run and a hook I knew we were definitely going to win!”

Seamus Callanan and Declan Fanning tackle Timmy McCarthy Seamus Callanan and Declan Fanning tackle Cork's Timmy McCarthy in the 2009 Munster championship. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Callanan is now the star man opposition defences aim to nullify. Fanning and the Tipperary management team are well aware of that.

“He certainly will be (marked). Seamus has been working really, really hard.

“He didn’t get to play as much in the league as he would have liked, but he’s got two rounds of club games in and he’s in very, very good shape.

“He’s looking forward to the championship. I’m not sure we’ll just be trying to pick out Seamus, we’ve plenty of good forwards with plenty of skill.

“We’ll definitely be trying to get everyone of them on the ball as much as we can during the championship.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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