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'An Addition As A Player And Person' - The Impact Of Colin O'Riordan

'An Addition As A Player And Person' - The Impact Of Colin O'Riordan

For Brian Fox, once Colin O'Riordan was available for selection, it was a no-brainer to have him in the Tipperary starting team.

O'Riordan was parachuted into the Tipp side for last month's historic Munster football final victory over Cork. The 25-year-old - who plays for Aussie rules for Sydney Swans - had been itching to pull on the Tipperary jersey for weeks previous but permission to do so only came from his AFL club 10 or so days before the provincial decider.

O'Riordan made the move to Australia in 2015. He had lined out for the Tipperary senior team prior to his departure.

"Colin is just a special case," said 12-year Tipp veteran Fox.

"I know a lot of people on the outside would say, 'Oh, bringing in a player halfway through that hadn't been training with the team, lads would have their noses out of joint'.

"The reality is when Colin came back from Australia, he was there at training watching us before he was ever allowed play with us.

"He made his Tipperary debut at 18. We played Cork down in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and inside in the dressing room, Colin gave one of the greatest speeches [I've ever heard] - it'll stay with me forever.

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"Everyone knows what Colin gives. Colin doesn't just talk the talk, he backs it up every time. He's been doing that since the minute he stepped onto the pitch and made his senior debut. He was outstanding in that game as well.

"Fellas know he's going to bring something to this team that maybe we were missing, I don't know. There's no feeling that 'Colin is here now, I'm not going to get my chance'. Everyone was like, 'This is for the greater good'.

"Everyone has to realise that it's not about the individual, it's about the team. What was best for the team? The best thing for the team was having Colin starting and that was proven on Sunday because he got Man of the Match."

Tipperary coach Paddy Christie believes O'Riordan and teammate Michael Quinlivan would "get on any team in the country including Dublin". Both again go into battle for Tipp in Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo.

"They're incredibly strong players and with Colin you're getting the extra knowledge of a fella who has seen a lot over in a professional set-up in the AFL," said Christie at the launch of AIB photobook 'The Toughest Season'.

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"He talks well to the players, highly respected. He's an addition as a player and as a person as well.

"Sometimes you hear of these things and think they're gimmicky little things - I didn't take a picture of it or anything like that because I didn't think it needed to be done - but I saw him picking up stuff and helping the kitman with gear.

"Needless to say you've a 40-man panel and there's tops left on the ground. Fellas walk in and they're half asleep coming in off the pitch, they're talking to each other and leave stuff behind them.

"Our kitman Murt Kennedy, he's superman basically, he's some man to go around and do work for the team, was trying to get stuff in. I was just thinking to myself, ‘This fella is helping the kitman here. He's on a professional contract over in the AFL, he comes back and has no airs or graces, speaks really well, plays well on the pitch and then picks up stuff afterwards’. Not because anyone is watching or because there's pictures being taken, and doesn't put it up on Twitter or anywhere else, but just does it because it's the team ethic and to help somebody else.

"That's a core value that you can't talk about or implant ins somebody, that's already inside them."

Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

See Also: 'The Key To Dublin Is Beyond Cluxton Now': How The Kick-Out Is Evolving

PJ Browne
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