GAA NEWS Tipp's Aussie Rules star Colin O'Riordan gets released by Sydney Swans to play against Cork
TIPPERARY football manager David Power has expressed delight at the decision of Sydney Swans to release Colin O’Riordan for Sunday week’s Munster SFC final against Cork.
And Power has also confirmed that, if Tipp can make history by landing a first provincial football title since 1935, then his Aussie Rules ‘import’ will be available for the remainder of their unlikely Sam Maguire quest.
O’Riordan has been back training with the Premier footballers “for the last five to six weeks”, since before the Allianz League resumed in mid-October.
“Colin did try to make himself available for all the league matches as well but, at that moment in time, Sydney Swans wouldn’t release him,” the Tipp boss explained.
“He was probably emailing the head coach every week because as we were winning he was getting itchy feet, even though he was with Charlie McGeever on the sideline during the matches.
“But it kind of came to a head on Sunday evening. He made a phone call and he basically got on to the joint-captains of Sydney Swans and between the joint-captains of Sydney Swans and the head coach, they agreed to let Colin play. And again we’re very thankful to Sydney Swans because he’s obviously under contract.”
He added: “To be fair to Colin, it was his determination and that’s one of his biggest qualities on the field ... he wanted to play for the last number of weeks and he was getting more and more frustrated so it’s great. It’s great for the panel.”
O’Riordan now has a chance to emulate the spectacular homecoming exploits of Collingwood’s Mark Keane, who scored Cork’s winning last-second goal to knock Kerry out.
And Power, who managed O’Riordan to an All-Ireland minor title in 2011, expressed the belief that he has “improved as a footballer” despite his absence.
“His football ability is actually very, very high considering obviously that he’s now used to the oval ball,” the Tipp manager outlined. “He’s moving the ball fast, he’s running fast, he’s linking up with the team. It is definitely a positive step.
“Colin has always been vocal. I remember the day of the Munster minor final in 2011 against Cork. At half-time, he stood up and he was only 15 years of age. When he talks, everyone listens.”
Power hopes that injury concerns Jack Kennedy and Steven O’Brien can resume full training early next week but admitted they were “touch and go”.