New Tipperary manager Colm Bonnar has refused to downplay expectations for the 2022 intercounty season as he prepares to undertake the biggest challenge of his managerial career.
Former Wexford and Carlow manager Bonnar had a glittering career with Tipperary as a player where he won five Munster titles and two All-Ireland championships.
He now returns to his native county as senior manager following the departure of Liam Sheedy at the end of the 2021 campaign.
Speaking to TG4, the Joe McDonagh and Christy Ring Cup winning manager admitted that there will be an expectancy level in Tipperary that few counties have attached to them.
“There are huge expectations in Tipperary and rightly so. I’ve waited a long time for this. It’s like coming home. So I can’t wait to get going. I’m busy now trying to get a backroom team in place,” Bonnar said.
“I played for nearly 20 years with Tipperary as a player, all up through the grades. It was always an ambition if I could coach, come back and be involved with a Tipperary senior team.
“To come back as manager is a dream come true for me, but having said that, there’s a lot of work to be done.
“Tipp are always talked about in the top two or three when it comes to hurling and rightly so. That’s the expectations. I need to deal with that and manage it, and try and get the best out of the players that are going to be putting on that Tipp jersey.”
Bonnar was hugely successful during his spell with Carlow from 2016 until 2020, but he contrasted the demands of his former post with that of his new one as he embarks on a new venture that will undoubtedly come under intense scrutiny in a county that demands success.
“In Carlow, there was five senior hurling teams. You come around to Tipperary, and I think there’s 40 or 50 games going on this weekend. There’s probably 10-20,000 people moving all over Tipperary looking at GAA games. So GAA is huge here in Tipperary,” Bonnar noted.
“Hurling holds a special place for Tipperary people. They just love the game, they love their hurling, and they love to see their top team which is the Tipp senior team doing well in the championship. And I’m delighted that’s the expectations because that’s what I want as well.”