Tipperary couldn't ask for any more from Russell who ran himself into the ground 2 months ago

Tipperary couldn't ask for any more from Russell who ran himself into the ground

Tipperary went down fighting and Mark Russell fought until he had no more to give.

He led the fight for Tipperary and he brought the fight to Cavan who, in the end, only held on with the help of a bit of fortune and with the edges of their finger-tips to win this Division Four National League title. Paddy Lynch was the man-of-the-match and he was the match-winner for Mickey Graham's team but on another day, Russell's tour-de-force would have been enough to take Tipperary up the steps.

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A convert from the small ball, the big Latin Cullen player was a Tipperary senior hurler in recent times but when he was dropped by Liam Sheedy in 2019, he turned his attention to Gaelic. Russell is a big, strong and powerful figure and, from the first minute to the 52nd on Saturday, you could see exactly why David Power brought him in.

Because, with an engine that every midfielder needs, Russell is well able to get up and down the field and, for all that physicality, he also has a finesse and a style that will have people calling him the big easy.

It was his second score of the day, a beauty of a strike on the run and from the sideline that underlined his abilities and with Tipperary under pressure at that stage, Russell was the man dragging them back into the game.

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He continued in that vein in the second half and having kicked his fourth and final score in the 51st minute, he didn't have much left in the tank. He kept on trucking on though and seconds later, having roamed into the full forward line, he won a long ball before setting Kevin Fahey up for what should have been a gimme. Fahey missed and with Russell having to go off after that play, Tipperary missed his influence from then on.

After the game, Power confirmed that Russell had asked to be taken off at that stage.

"He signalled himself that he wanted to come off," said the manager.

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It's his first proper season playing at midfield, which is a high-energy position, and he has been substituted between the 50th and 55th minutes of matches. At that stage you're going to have fresh legs coming on.

"We didn't want to take him off because he has been such a threat, and has been a revelation. But he ran himself into the ground."

You can't ask for much more.