Evans resigned after Tipperary were relegated to Allianz Football League Division Four following a 0-7 to 1-16 defeat against Sligo at Markievicz Park yesterday. Tipp have lost all five of their Division 3 fixtures this year and Evans was also in charge of the U21 team beaten by Kerry in the Munster championship. Evans was reluctant to go into detail about his decision but admitted that the recent losing streak has had an impact.
He said: “Maybe that’s part of it. I’ve all my life been a winner. Somebody did some research on me recently and I’ve contested something like 80 finals. It’s hard for me to take defeat after defeat. I struggle to countenance them, entertain them or put up with them.”
Evans added: “Today is just a day for an announcement. I’m leaving Tipperary having made some great friends. It’s not a day for anything else other than to say thank you to everybody for their cooperation.”
Evans took charge in November 2007 and oversaw successive promotions from Division 4 to Division 2 in 2008 and 2009.
But Tipp will be playing Division 4 football in 2013 and much of the good work achieved in recent years appears to have been undone.
Evans, however, has achieved much during his time with Tipperary and masterminded the county’s very first Munster U21 football championship success in 2010. And last year, he was involved on the coaching team when the minors enjoyed a fairytale season that culminated with All-Ireland glory at Croke Park. Evans, who guided Laune Rangers to All-Ireland club glory in 1996, was appointed Director of Football for Tipperary in 2010 but GAA rules meant that he could not hold that position while also fulfilling the role of senior team boss.
Evans reflected: “Look at the good times, the way we’ve conducted ourselves and what we have won. It’s easy to be sad at this time but look at the rejuvenation of Tipperary. The thing that sticks in my mind will be the sight of people in tears when we got promoted from Division 4. And we beat Down in the 2009 Division 3 final, playing with exuberance, style and resilience. We were defiant and proved that a weaker county can defeat a strong powerful county like Down. We had a narrow miss in 2009 against Cork in the Munster U21 championship but we came back and did it properly against Kerry, in Kerry, the following year. There was also an All-Ireland success for Clonmel High School and the highs of Munster and All-Ireland titles with the Tipp minors last year. So while there could be sadness today, the whole journey has been exhilarating. And it showed what can be done with proper preparation and good management. The lads were quite emotional after the game. The players gave some lovely speeches and there were lots of hugs and handshakes. I think I’ve left a good infrastructure.”
The Tipperary board released a statement last night, thanking Evans for his contribution and that the process of finding a successor will now begin.
1-10 of Sligo’s total came in the second half when, playing with the breeze, they punished a Tipperary side that managed just one solitary second-half score. Six unanswered points steadied Sligo and when Colm McGee blasted home the game’s only goal after 57 minutes — putting Sligo 1-13 to 0-7 ahead — the outcome was confirmed.
Scorers for Sligo: C McGee 1-2; S Coen 0-4, 1f; A Marren 0-4, 3f; T Taylor 0-2; A Costello 0-2; M Breheny 0-2.
Scorers for Tipperary: P Austin 0-3, 3f; S Ryan 0-1; B O’Brien 0-1; H Coghlan 0-1; R Costigan 0-1.
SLIGO: P Greene, N Ewing, J Martyn, R Donovan, C Harrison, M Quinn, J Davey, T Taylor, S McManus, A Costello, P Hughes, D Rooney, C McGee, A Marren, S Coen.
Subs: M Breheny for D Rooney, (28); P McGovern for N Ewing, (52); B Egan for P Hughes, (59); N McGuire for M Quinn, (63).
TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald, A Morrissey, L Egan, C McDonald, R Kiely, T Ryan, P Codd, E Ryan, D Heffernan, R Costigan, P Acheson, H Coghlan, B O’Brien, P Austin, S Ryan.
Subs: D Leaghy for E Ryan, (23); M Quinlivan for S Ryan, (41); C Sweeney for B O’Brien; J Ryan for A Morrissey, (59); A Campbell for T Ryan, (70).
Referee: Raymond McBrien (Leitrim).