PLAYER PROFILE: Alan Tynan
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Written by Ronan Calvert of Munster Haka
‘Player Profile’ is the name that we’ve stuck to player analysis pieces that feature up and coming youngsters playing for Munster
Unfortunately, with the exception of Jack O’Donoghue, our player profiles over on Facebook proved the kiss of death to every single player that featured, with Brian Haugh, Luke O’Dea, Darren Moroney and Paddy Butler among those to be released from the Munster set up within the same year as our articles. We took some stern words from conspiracy theorists, we refused to take responsibility for crumbled careers and now we’re looking forward to hyping some more.
To be fair, since these pieces started up on our website, we’ve kinda turned a corner with Rory Scannell, Bill Johnston, Conor Oliver and Fineen Wycherley motoring along nicely. However, John Madigan’s and Ben Betts’ Munster careers didn’t go quite to plan… and so yes, we’re still facing the wrath of seething old men passionately scolding the damned “Curse of the Player Profile” under about a half of our Facebook posts.
But that’s okay, because here’s hoping that curse ends today.
Player Profile and Analysis of Alan Tynan
Weight: 12st 10lb
Club: Young Munster
When it comes to sport, some people just have it. In your school life there was always that one guy who would excel at whatever he would turn his hand to and Munster Rugby has had a few of them in it’s time too. Cork minor hurler Tomas O’Leary, Tipperary underrage hurler Donnacha Ryan and of course Cork senior hurler and Irish hockey underrage international Darren Sweetnam are just a few examples.
Alan Tynan is the latest to fall into such a bracket.
Born in Roscrea, Tynan attended Cistercian College where his sporting excellence inevitably stood out from the crowd. The multi-talented youngster played hurling, Gaelic football and rugby in his school days, finding himself with the dilemma of trying to find just the right balance without becoming a jack of all trades yet a master of none. A few years down the line and he found himself playing county for Tipperary in both codes of GAA and gearing up for Senior Cup rugby as Roscrea’s star man. A few minor hurling caps, a few minor football caps and a Leinster Senior Cup later, master of all trades soon became most appropriate.
But it now looks like rugby is the sport lucky enough to avail of his full concentration. Following a year that saw Tynan star for Tipp’s minor hurling and football All Ireland finalists as well as Roscrea’s Senior Cup winning rugby team, Munster Rugby have now taken the prospect under their wing.
Indeed, the 19 year old played a handful of Munster development and Munster A games last season despite not yet being contacted to the academy, but it was at his club Young Munster that Tynan truly caught the eye.
Following a whole host of impressive performances, Tynan peaked at outhalf in a crucial AIL showdown against league favourites Lansdowne. Commenting after the game, ‘Cookies’ coach Gearoid Prendergast commented “Of course I was thrilled with Alan Tynan. It is little wonder that the Tipperary County Board would like to have him back. He is a natural”.
But despite becoming a fan favourite at Tom Clifford Park, it wasn’t enough to convince Ireland U20 head coach Nigel Carolan that he was worth a place in their Six Nations squad last February. However, Tynan’s didn’t have to wait long more to begin his international career as when Munster ‘A’ boss Peter Malone took the reigns of the 20s, the Young Munster star was named in Ireland’s World Cup squad to travel to Georgia this Summer. An investment of faith that has been more than repaid.
The one thing that multi-sport players all have in common is phenomenal hand-eye coordination. In the current Munster ranks, Darren Sweetnam is forever cited for his hurling background helping his areal game to no end and you can see Tynan’s likewise comfort under the high-ball in the GIF below.
As the Italian fullback sizes up a garryowen, Tynan positions himself so that he can approach his jump with pace and dominance. As the ball falls from the sky, an Italian player is right underneath it and prepared to take it safely between his arms. However, we then see Tynan burst onto the ball with real purpose, keeping his eye on the target throughout. He does the simple things well and as a result, he makes the catch with confidence and sets up Ireland for an attack.
Yet although he does ever so well to make the catch look easy, how he lands and has the presence of mind to keep the momentum alive is the standout feature of this play. As the youngster plants his right foot after taking the catch he spreads his left leg in front himself which sees him barely break his stride upon landing. Normally in this situation a player may take a second to adjust their feet, in which time the tackle has been made and the momentum from a good catch is usually extinguished before being put to any use. In Tynan’s case however he continues his movement to evade a defender, offload and set Ireland away on a front-foot attack.
Above we see another instance of Tynan showcasing his rugby intelligence to set others into space. The pass that he receives from outhalf Conor Deane is a little loopier than your ideal pass but he takes it well and again sets off in an instant, looks up and finds a teammate. On this occasion however, the pass available to him isn’t quite so simple. Ireland find themselves with a two-on-two in the corner and a standard pass will likely see the winger tackled, thus ending the immediate threat.
Therefore a bit of ingenuity is required to unlock the defence and so here we see Tynan mix it up a little. The Scottish defenders do the right thing and mark up with their opposite men, rather than ‘ball-watching’. This eliminates the risk of the two tacklers being drawn to the one attacker in theory but Tynan uses a combination of intelligence, skill and strength to open up space for number 14 Jack Kelly. As the Scottish winger only has eyes for Kelly, Tynan complicates their strategy by giving him a reason to be interested about him too. He hovers towards the outside man with the ball in two hands, takes his marker with him and forces the winger into a tackle situation before popping back inside to Jack Kelly who has also done well to read Tynan’s intentions to a tee. This play would have mustered up a try for Peter Malone’s men, had it none been for the desperate high tackle seen above.
Besides being an accomplished goal-kicking outhalf for Young Munster, a position that many see as his best, Tynan also brings a sweet left-footed dimension from fullback. This option allowed the U20 side to vary their first-receiver on occasion at the World Cup and as seen above, having someone of Tynan’s quality stepping in was an excellent luxury to have. Super.
That presence of mind that we mentioned arises again. As does his confidence in his Rory Scannell-like left boot. Here Tynan finds himself facing another two-on-two, but with space to kick into behind the defenders, he changes his approach. Guarded by the inside men, he steps to his left where he identifies a gap that he can drill a kick through. He does so with fine accuracy as he measures his power admirably and allows Young Munster teammate Calvin Nash to latch onto the grubber before crossing the whitewash.
The final department of Alan Tynan’s array of qualities that we will mention is his running game. Although his backfield game is generally more nuanced with clever passes and territorial kicks, when he finds himself in the danger zone Tynan is equally equipped to put on a show of purposeful power and acceleration. In the GIF above we see a typical example of this.
As Ireland create an overlap on the left flank, Tynan finds himself with the option of either drawing the defender and sending his teammate through in the corner or simply going himself. In this situation the Georgian winger helps make that decision for him as it soon became apparent that he was more focused on the outside man than the ball carrier. But Tynan capitalises with a text-book dash for the chalk. As the space opens up, he puts his foot down and displays some impressive acceleration to burst over the line. There’s a large portion of aggression and determination in his running and that’s further outlined by the example below.
Natural sporting talent. Someone who among chaos can pull amazing things out of the bag and find it easy. The type of sports star, let alone rugby player, that doesn’t come around too often. Make no mistake, this is a steal for Munster.
With an academy contract surely about to be announced this month, be prepared to see a whole lot more of Tynan in the coming season or so.
A lot of these up and coming stars in ‘Player Profiles’ can swing one way or the other. This time however, we can confidently say it will be a matter of when rather than will.
Tynan needs to continue on his upward spiral, getting as many minutes as possible. Whether that’s Munster A, Young Munster or otherwise – match experience is always the most important ingredient for young players looking to progress.
And we get the feeling senior experience isn’t all that far away.
Alan Tynan, good luck with everything from all at Munster Haka