Tipperary’s interim football manager Peter Creedon insists the county team’s season is far from over.
As he meets the players for training for the first time this evening, the Rosscarbery, Co Cork native is aiming to restore morale within the panel after their relegation from Division 3.
Former Tipperary minor and U21 manager Creedon, principal of St Ailbe’s School in Tipperary town, has come on board for the remainder of the year along with selectors Gerry McGill and Michael O’Loughlin. Tommy Twomey, a selector under John Evans, will remain working with the panel. Creedon is cognisant that they face a formidable challenge in their Munster quarter-final against Kerry in Thurles on May 20. But he is enthused by the amount of talent in the set-up.
“Short-term, it’s about rebuilding the confidence in the panel,” he said. “It would have been rocked by the five losses and the draw in the league.
“They haven’t become a bad team overnight. The bulk of them were good enough to play in Division 2 and hold their own. They were unlucky to be relegated on a reasonable points tally just two years ago.
“I’m lucky because they’re a dedicated bunch of lads, and were under John Evans. I’m coming into a good situation.”
As for that May date with Kerry in Semple Stadium, Creedon is not going to diminish the enormity of the challenge ahead against last year’s All-Ireland runners-up.
“Most people would probably say no team would be able to beat Kerry at the moment, outside of Dublin and Cork.
“We’re under no illusions about that or where we are. But I’d never worry about the opposition, just prepare our team as best we can and go for it.”
Creedon also points to Tipperary’s neighbours Limerick as a source of inspiration for the championship.
“Last year, Limerick got to the quarter-finals from Division 4.
“Anything can happen, really.”
Creedon’s knowledge of the football scene in Tipperary is undoubted. Living in Thurles, he managed the minors and U21s for five season between 2003 and 2008, reaching an All-Ireland quarter-final and three Munster deciders.
In 2001, he coached Cahir to their first south title since the 1950s while he coached his home club Carbery Rangers to a senior county semi-final in Cork last year.
Creedon is well aware of the advances made by Tipperary under Evans and intends honouring them while putting his own stamp on things.
“What made sense to the county board was the need for an interim manager who had experience with the county.
“I knew a lot of the players from minor and U21 and Mick [O’Loughlin] knows those who have played at U21 level since I left the set-up. It’s a natural fit in a way and we’ll be there for the championship to give the county board a bit of breathing space so that they can appoint a full-time manager.
“[Dublin ladies’ 2010 All-Ireland winning manager] Gerry McGill is in as well and he has great experience and we have Tommy Twomey from the old management.”
Creedon would not be drawn on whether he would be interested in the position on a permanent basis.
“We’re there under the end of the season. I’ve started a new job and we’ll be preparing the team for the rest of the year.”
Despite the seniors’ disappointing form, Creedon believes the feelgood factor remains intact in Tipperary football after the minors’ achievements last year. “That’s coming from the U14, U15 and U17 development squads. David Power and Michael Power and a lot of good people have been put in football positions in Tipperary. The minors’ All-Ireland success last year definitely raised the profile. You have lads in secondary school who are now saying to each other, ‘let’s try and play football for the county’.”
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