By John Fogarty
Tipperary’s historic Munster semi-final win over Cork last month will see them awarded with a last four bye next year but Peter Acheson still has a problem with the provincial structure.
As things stand, the finalists receive byes after the developing county squads rose up following the 2013 season when Cork and Kerry were seeded on separate sides in the last four.
Acheson is glad the monopoly has been broken up but believes the current system remains unfair to the four other counties.
“The draw is tough enough already — Clare, Waterford, Limerick and knowing you have to beat the two lads (Cork and Kerry) to win a Munster final.
“There should be an open draw every year, it’s not really fair on the weaker counties. I see what the Munster Council wants to do. Everybody wants a Cork-Kerry Munster final. We have to get to the level where everybody wants us in a Munster final. Hopefully, we can do that.”
The Moyle Rovers man jokes the publicans and hoteliers in Killarney wouldn’t be their biggest fans after beating Cork. The smaller than anticipated attendance, expected to be around 15,000 to 20,000, won’t affect Tipperary.
“Whoever is there supporting us is brilliant, we are used to having small crowds, it won’t bother us. We will have our close supporters that we always have and they are brilliant. You have to win stuff really to get support and hopefully we can win something over the years.
“People are used to throwing hurleys at lads in Tipperary. Now there are more footballs around the place.”
Acheson knows the importance of Tipperary securing an automatic semi-final spot next year. It may mean playing for the county is slightly more attractive next season but then there are few bigger carrots than a Munster final in Killarney.
He maintains he and his team-mates won’t be quaking when they face Kerry having played them so often in recent years, several of them having beaten them at underage level.
“There is not much fear in the lads, there is a lot of respect. Kerry, they are a serious outfit. I don’t think there is fear of anybody, really, just a lot of respect. All we can do is play our best. If they have an off day maybe we might catch them.”
Citing the heartbreaking Munster semi-final loss to Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh two years ago, Acheson underlines how essential it is for he and his team-mates to have trust in themselves.
“You always have to believe, you would not play otherwise. We seem to be always going good against them, Kerry, until about 40 or 50 minutes and class pushes on then.
“The Cork game two years ago was an eye-opener. We threw it away ourselves, to be honest. Aidan Walsh came on and kicked three great points, we threw it away. The belief was there.
“We won Munster U21 in 2010, the minors won the year after, the U21 and minors last year. The talent is there.”