Creedon: Top teams powering ahead of rest

Creedon: Top teams powering ahead of rest

Apart from London's shock win over Sligo, it was a weekend to forget for teams who competed in Division 4 of the Allianz Football League this year.

Limerick and Tipperary both suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Cork and Kerry respectively in the Munster Championship, joining Carlow, who also competed in Division 4 this spring, in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

Tipperary's 2-19 to 0-8 loss to Kerry in Killarney yesterday afternoon was well signposted as soon as James O'Donoghue cracked home the first goal just a minute into the second half.

The subsequent dismissal of leading forward Barry Grogan left Tipp in all sorts of trouble and they were unable to match their heroic performance of twelve months ago against Kerry when they finished just six points in arrears.

The gulf in quality between counties from Division 1 and the league's lower tiers was painfully evident at times during those Munster SFC openers, and Tipperary manager Peter Creedon feels the GAA need to react in terms of restructuring the summer fare.

"Mayo did a nice number on Galway last week and Dublin might do similar to certain teams. I still think let us play our Munster Championship, but there should be a top 16 going into a senior Championship and then a senior 'B' or whatever," he explained.

"Club football is like that at senior, intermediate and junior - why should we all be playing for the same competition?

"My aim is to try to build a team over the next two or three years that can come down here (to Killarney) and rattle them, but everything has to fall into place.

"The weekend results are beginning to show that the top four or five teams are just powering ahead."

Tipperary have not won a Munster Championship match since 2003, although they did embark on a three-game winning run in the All-Ireland qualifiers last summer, beating Offaly, Wexford and Antrim, and their underage structures are very sound.

But at present, the Premier County are not able to deal with a top ranking team like Kerry. "We were just beaten by a better team on the day. Kerry played to a high standard and we just weren't able to cope with it," admitted Creedon.

"Kerry were able to offload a few good players from the bench and push on."

Eamonn Fitzmaurice was quietly satisfied with his maiden Championship win as a Kerry manager, mindful that they are back in action next Saturday night in a semi-final clash with Waterford.

"We are happy with the result - it was a professional performance. There were parts of the game when we didn't play particularly well but I was very happy with the lads' attitude from start to finish," he said afterwards.

"I'd say it's the best win Kerry have had over Tipperary in a couple of years. They are a tough nut to crack and overall we'd be pleased.

"There were times when we took the wrong option but it is still very early in the Championship season so we have plenty to be working on."

Fitzmaurice said that Championship debutant Fionn Fitzgerald, top scorer James O'Donoghue (1-3) and Johnny Buckley, who was making his first Championship start at midfield, can been pleased with their displays.

"They all did well and I thought Peter Crowley was outstanding at left half-back. We have a lot of faith in these younger players. Some of them found it tough at stages in the league but they have learned a lot and they have more experienced bodies around them now - but there will be tougher tests ahead."

Fitzmaurice's charges will line out at Fitzgerald Stadium once again next Saturday when Waterford come to town, and the Kerry supremo knows his side cannot afford to take the visitors lightly.

"Six days is very close, particularly with the Championship intensity. But we've known this all along. Waterford requested it, originally, with regard to club fixtures, with football and hurling.

"I'm not sure (of) the ins and outs, but it's agreed. There'll be no experimentation. It's a Championship match and we'll be giving it the fullest respect," he added.

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