Saturday Panel: Michael Quinlivan talks about how players have taken control of football in Tipperary

Tipperary enjoyed one of their most fruitful championship campaigns since the 1930's this year

Saturday Panel: Michael Quinlivan talks about how players have taken control of football in Tipperary

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The Tipperary footballers were one of the special stories of the 2016 championship.

From losing 11 of their 2015 panel to travel work and personal commitments to an All-Ireland semi-final appearance, Tipperary have announced themselves as one of the emerging powers in Gaelic Football.

Things were looking ominous for Liam Kearns and co at the outset of the season but the championship took on a different complexion for Tipperary football that has brought new status to the county.

A win over Cork booked them a place in the Munster decider where they lost out gallantly to a more seasoned Kerry side. They then took the momentum from those provincial games to weave a path through the qualifiers.

They earned wins over Derry and Galway before losing out to Mayo by a just a two point margin in their first All-Ireland semi-final appearance since 1935 which capped off an exceptional run for the team.

Speaking to Ger Gilroy in the Off The Ball Saturday panel on the day of the All-Ireland final replay, Tipperary forward Michael Quinlivan said that cultivating that new culture in Tipperary football has been a special experience. 

"It's been a difficult path. We've enjoyed it and there's something special about chiseling your own way. We've had to break down a lot of boundaries the last five or six years as a group and we've enjoyed it."

He then quoted Irish Examiner columnist Mike Quirke who said that when Mayo ousted their management last year they took ownership of their own destiny. Quinlivan said that he sees a resonance between Mayo's situation and Tipperary's journey towards becoming a traditional football county.

"We've had to take ownership of Tipperary football over the last five or six years and it makes it a bit more special for us. Ultimately, we're striving to try and keep going because we're not happy with where we are. It takes a lot and we've had some special players over the years. Colin O'Rriordan is in Australia and the mentality of lads like that drives us on."