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U21 Footballer Of The Year Colin O'Riordan Delivers A Cracking Response To Questions About Sledging

U21 Footballer Of The Year Colin O'Riordan Delivers A Cracking Response To Questions About Sledging
By Gavan Casey
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Fresh off his EirGrid U21 Player of the Year Award, Tipperary's Colin O'Riordan reflected on the 'Sledge-Gate' that followed Tipperary's one point loss to Tyrone in the All-Ireland U21 Football final, and explained why Tipperary can no longer accept moral victories as the Premier County prepare to host All-Ireland champions Kerry this Sunday.

New phrases continue to infiltrate the GAA world thick and fast, with the concept of 'sledging' souring the narrative of last month's All-Ireland U21 football final between Tipperary and victors Tyrone.

Tipperary U21 captain Colin O'Riordan admits he still has nightmares over the match itself, but not what was said to him on the pitch. Asked whether one of his own managers had ever encouraged the verbal of abuse of fellow players, the JK Brackens man delivered a cracking response:

If a manager went out with that intention, it's not GAA - it's not football. If you want to be doing that you'd be better off playing some other game. Soccer maybe, because a lot of it probably happens there.

If a manager told me to [sledge], you can be 100% sure I'd tell him where to go, to be honest.


Nigel Owens-esque.

You might as well put your house on the 19 year old captaining the Tipp seniors in the near future, and it's this level of leadership beyond his years which he hopes can help inspire his senior side to topple The Kingdom in Thurles this Sunday.


Where a side which didn't include O'Riordan, then 17, imploded against the same opposition in Fitzgerald Stadium not two years ago, the half-forward star maintains this Tipp side no longer take to the field to make up the numbers. The 19 year old didn't hold back when analysing that fateful day back in 2013:

'Embarrassment' was the right word. We were looking on as young lads, and we couldn't understand how these lads could just go out and just throw their heads down.

We feel we are able to put it up to Kerry now. It's no more a case of travelling with hope rather than expectation. We are going there for the win and there is no point saying otherwise because that's why you play - you play to win.

O'Riordan - an All-Ireland minor winner with the Premier County in 2011 - has never lost to Kerry at any age level, and believes he and his teammates from the same age group (five of them start tomorrow) must instil a similar belief in Tipp's more senior players:

We're bringing our belief to them, and they're sort of fuelling off us. Whatever we say to them, they take on board, and whatever they say to us, we're taking on board. The whole 'belief' thing is massive within the group.

A moral victory is no good to us.

Tipperary U21 footballer Colin O’Riordan is presented with the EirGrid U21 Player of the Year Award, for his outstanding performances throughout the EirGrid GAA Football U21 All-Ireland Championship. Colin was presented with his award by Rosemary Steen, Director of Public Affairs at EirGrid.
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