Lar Corbett has appealed to the Tipperary fans to be patient with him after his return to action following a brief retirement from the inter-county scene.
Corbett shocked the GAA world when he quit the Tipp squad in February, but he announced his comeback on Sunday night after the intervention of former player and manager Nicky English.
Tipperary fans want to see Corbett make his return in the Munster Championship opener against Limerick on Sunday, May 27, but Corbett says it will take time to get back to full fitness after seven months out of action since his last club game.
“I am delighted to be back and fortunate that the management team have kept the door open for me,” said the 31-year-old Thurles publican.
“I have spent the last 11 years hurling for Tipperary and every time I pulled on a jersey I felt it an honor. While I had to take time out for business reasons, I knew in the back of my mind that if I could get structures in place with the bar and a few other things that I would immediately want to come back.
“But I couldn’t say at the time if that would be possible. Everyone appreciates how difficult it is at the moment to survive let alone do well in business and the pub trade, in particular, is so competitive now. Many bars are unfortunately going out of business across the country.
“You cannot take your eye off it for one minute and I just felt at the turn of the year that I had to take time out, concentrate on the work-life and put in more time into it the bar here.
“But the time out has definitely worked well. I now have structures in place that allow me to go back and give the commitment that hurling for Tipp needs and I am lucky to have 100% support from my business partner Kevin Coppinger in that.”
Corbett also confirmed he is realistic about his chances of getting back into the Tipperary team after missing the entire league campaign.
He added, “I am realistic about how much work I have to do to get my fitness level up to what it should be to play for Tipperary this year.
“And if I get into that position and I’m called on, I will do my living best. But we are talking months here, not weeks; that’s the level hurling is at nowadays.
“But I am willing to do what is needed and just delighted to have the chance to come back in. In the meantime, I will be supporting those lads on the first team and in the squad in every way I can.”
Tipperary captain Paul Curran doesn’t expect Corbett to make an immediate return against Limerick despite the euphoria that has greeted his return amongst Tipp fans.
Curran told the Irish Sun, “They think Larry is going to come on and score three or four goals, but sure he has been flat out with his pub and other business ventures and he has no training done.
“And I know he suffers from his hamstrings so he’ll have to be careful too. I’ll just be saying to them just relax and give him time to see how he gets on.
“I don’t see him being anywhere near the Limerick game now, for a lad that hasn’t done anything since February he couldn’t be right.
“We are delighted to have him back in the panel. But team sports are funny. When we were in there, we weren’t speaking about him, it was only outside of it people were asking, ‘Is he coming back?’
“You’d nearly forget about it. I thought there was no hope. The news came out of the blue.”
DUBLIN star Bernard Brogan says his team must improve on their poor league form or risk a rude awakening when they defend their All-Ireland title this summer.
“You have to challenge yourself each year, and after winning one you want to win another,” he told reporters. “The stats are that most teams fail to win back to back.
“It’s not easy and we don’t in any way envisage it is going to be easy, but that’s the end goal. We need to take each game at a time and if we look past Louth or Westmeath we could very easily get our asses handed to us.
“We might have been a bit complacent and lacked a bit of work rate in the league, and that’s where some of the bad results came from.
“We have to go out to every game and give it the same intensity as last year and probably more, another 10 or 15 per cent, because every team will have watched us inside out, know the way we play, so we have to do something different and bring more intensity.”
KERRY star Colm Cooper has called on the GAA to close the gap between championship matches this summer.
The Kingdom captain said, “The biggest problem I have with it all, the games are too drawn out. You could playa Championship match but then not play again for six weeks.
“The system definitely needs tweaking. I know there are club structures that have to be tied in but if you look at soccer, if you get to Champions League you might have two weeks to prepare which is fine.
“But six weeks? How do you keep going or train? The balance isn’t right there at the moment.”