Tipperary football manager Peter Creedon feels a greater stability in terms of personnel compared to recent years offsets a disappointing league campaign.
Tipp travel to Killarney on Sunday after defeat to Offaly in their final Division 4 game, when a win would have secured promotion.
While obviously not happy to have missed out on ascending to Division 3, Creedon is satisfied with the way the side are approaching the game having been appointed to replace John Evans in March 2012.
“I suppose we’d a honeymoon last year as we got a great run in the championship,” Creedon said.
“This year has been tough, we’ve been trying to bed in some of the younger players with the senior squad and trying to up the standards of the physical preparation.
“The league didn’t go perfectly, there’s no point saying otherwise, but we’re in a better position facing Kerry than we were 12 months ago.
“This year is we’re going to Kerry with the 20 or 21 players we had last year whereas for the few years before that, we were chopping and changing. You’re not going to build momentum at this level in that fashion.”
Creedon and his management hope to have an almost-full squad to pick from, with attacker Michael Quinlivan the only injury worry.
“He’s out but other than that, everyone else is fine,” he said.
“Michael was talking of going to America but we had him convinced to stay around. He’s a very bad ankle injury from the Offaly game. He played through an injury for the Munster U21 football final and it hasn’t responded. He won’t be ready anyway.”
This is the fourth year in a row Tipp have been drawn with Kerry, but it doesn’t bother Cork native Creedon.
“We can’t do anything about the draw,” he said. I love playing Kerry personally, I always have. Kerry or Cork are great draws. We haven’t been able to bridge the gap between them in recent years but there’ll come a day Tipp will beat them. I’m not saying it will be Sunday but some day.”
The chances of an upset are aided by Tipp’s impressive qualifier run last year, beating Offaly, Wexford and Antrim before Down eliminated them. For Creedon, it laid down a marker which players must aspire to match.
“It was easier to get going this year because we could set that as the benchmark for the players as this is what we can achieve in championship football,” he said. “We beat three teams in higher divisions to us and then lost to a team in Division 1, Down.
“There is a gap there and we realise that, but we’re capable of matching most teams in championship football.
“Championship is where the fun is.”
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