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Tipperary chairman slams Tyrone for 'type of play and intimidation' in All-Ireland U21 final

Michael Bourke had plenty to say during his address to Tipperary delegates at Thursday night’s annual convention.

Tipp lost out to Tyrone in the All-Ireland U21 final.
Tipp lost out to Tyrone in the All-Ireland U21 final.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

TIPPERARY GAA CHAIRMAN Michael Bourke has slammed Tyrone for their “type of play and intimidation” during last May’s EirGrid All-Ireland U21 football final.

Tipp lost out by a point against the Red Hands at Parnell Park but the fallout from the game was bitter, with Tyrone boss Feargal Logan denied access to the losing dressing room as the Premier County levelled accusations of cynicism and sledging at the winners.

Bourke has also accused Croke Park of showing “very little respect” for the U21 showpiece with the choice of venue for the game.

Addressing delegates at Tipperary’s annual convention in Thurles on Thursday night, Bourke also questioned the county’s dual stance at minor level following All-Ireland final defeats in both grades this year.

And Bourke also hit out at football board chiefs for the amount of time it took to put forward Liam Kearns as a successor to former senior team manager Peter Creedon.

Football was very much on the agenda at the Dome, with a motion calling for county players to put themselves forward for one panel only heavily defeated.

Tyrone celebrate All-Ireland U21 glory. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

But Bourke is concerned by the demands placed on dual players in the minor grade – indicating that there should only be room for them “in exceptional circumstances.”

Bourke said: “Our U21 footballers gave us many memorable moments up to the All-Ireland.

“The type of play and intimidation that our players had to contend with in the All-Ireland left a lot to be desired and Croke Park showed very little respect for the U21 football All-Ireland by playing it in a venue which is not suitable for an All-Ireland, with traffic congestion and limited space being some of the major problems on the evening.

“It is no wonder that there are suggestions coming out of Croke Park to do away with the U21 football championship.

This I believe would be a very negative step and how do they propose to fill this gap for players from minor to senior football?”

Bourke reflected on an “interesting and disappointing” end to the hurling season for Tipperary.

The U21 hurlers exited at the first round of the championship against eventual All-Ireland champions Limerick, a defeat viewed as a major blow given the potential within the squad.

The minor hurlers lost to Galway in the All-Ireland final and the seniors fell at the penultimate hurdle, also against Galway.

Bourke added: “Last year the hurling scene was interesting and disappointing with the end result.

“Our minor hurlers qualified for the All-Ireland having retained the Munster title.

“The team, under the stewardship of Liam Cahill, worked extremely hard to reach the Munster final and win it.

Liam Cahill Tipperary minor hurling manager Liam Cahill. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“Like any underage team, it is not until they get past their first game that you sometimes realise the potential within the panel.

“Liam and his team had to cope, like the minor football selectors, with dual players.

This is something that has received a lot of attention of late and I believe minor hurling and football cannot progress with large numbers of dual players on panels.

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“There might be room for limited numbers in exceptional circumstances. “The other question is – can Tipperary produce separate panels for minor hurling and football?

“The workload on dual players leading into both All-Irelands was managed well but also a drain on players.”

Bourke acknowledged the recent progress of football in Tipperary but referred to the delay in ratifying Kearns as new senior team manager.

Liam Kearns Liam Kearns was finally ratified as Tipp's new senior football manager late last month. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

It had been anticipated that Kearns would be given the green light to take over from Creedon in early November but his appointment was not officially rubber-stamped until later in the month as a number of loose ends were tidied up behind the scenes.

Laying the blame at the door of the football board for the impasse, Bourke said: “Football in general has worked very well in Tipperary but I believe too much time was lost from the time of exit of championships and the retirement of selectors and their replacements being found.

“Most of this responsibility rests with football management committee.

There were far too few organised football committee meetings this year, no communication to county board of decisions or efforts being made to progress football.

“Under Croke Park guidelines and requests, we are obliged going forward to look at the role of the football committee and their reporting mechanisms to county board. This will happen in the month of January.”

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