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Ger Loughnane writes off Tipperary's chances of winning championship silverware

Banner County legend Loughnane dismisses Premier County’s Munster and All-Ireland championship credentials

Ger Loughnane has dismissed Tipperary's summer hopes
Ger Loughnane has dismissed Tipperary's summer hopes
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

GER LOUGHNANE HAS rarely been flavour of the month in Tipperary and he’s irked Premier County fans again by insisting that the Premier County won’t feature in the 2015 championship shake-up.

Referring to Tipperary as “nearly men”, Clare’s 1995 and 1997 All-Ireland winning supremo Loughnane cast doubt on Eamon O’Shea’s chances of claiming silverware in the summer.

Speaking on RTÉ’s League Sunday, Loughnane predicted that Tipp will be a “big force” but doesn’t expect them to get over the line in the race for provincial and national honours.

Referring first of all to last Sunday’s All-Ireland final replay defeat to Kilkenny, Loughnane commented: “At the end of that game, coming out of Croke Park, I said that’s the end of that Tipperary team.

“Looking through their panel, a lot of the players had pushed on in age, and some of the players who were on the panel, you’d say they were never going to make it.

Ger Loughnane Ger Loughnane described Tipperary as nearly men on RTÉ's League Sunday Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“And then, to copperfasten the thing, in the first game of this League, when they played Dublin, you had Paul Curran at full-back and Conor O’Mahony at centre back, players who have given great service but you couldn’t see them being championship players any more.

“But after that, Eamon O’Shea brought in new players like Michael Breen, Ronan Maher, John McGrath and Niall O’Meara and they really revitalised the whole Tipperary thing and they would have been way better in the League except for they had so many injuries.

“Most of their defence was nearly gone in the League. They will be back as a big force but having been the nearly men so often, can they make the breakthrough?

“Eamon O’Shea has still not won a trophy with this team and it’s his third year. Declan Ryan won two Munster championships.

“Can Eamon O’Shea break through and win a trophy with the team? Personally, I doubt it.”

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Davy Fitzgerald Ger Loughnane is predicting a big summer for Davy Fitzgerald and Clare Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Perhaps not surprisingly, Loughnane has backed his native county to achieve big things, but only if they get over Limerick in a massive Munster SHC quarter-final showdown on May 24.

“I’d look on that first game as an old style, championship knockout game.

“Clare were relegated in the League and there was a bit of turbulence over the winter but in spite of what people think, things are going very well in Clare, they’re training really well and are very united.

“They have so much talent and they’ll be looking at Waterford and saying, ‘they’re a lot younger than us, these fellas have won nothing at U21 level, they won a minor (All-Ireland) but we won four U21s, and if we’re not ahead of them, there’s something desperately wrong.’

“So they’ll get a bit of incentive from that. I still think that if they get past that first game and build a bit of momentum, they will be a real force.

“And if, when things get serious later on, they have all of their team back, footballers, fellas in America and all of that, they will be a real force when they get to Croke Park.”

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Jackie Cahill

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