Tipperary’s 2016 selector, Tommy Toomey, has challenged the team to spread doubt among the Mayo supporters as much as the players in Thurles on Saturday.
Toomey was part of Liam Kearns’ management team when they ran Mayo close in the All-Ireland semi two years ago. And as much as he expects home support to be outnumbered in Semple, he believes they can harness that for their own gain.
“The one thing about 2016 was when we beat Galway and Derry was the tight band of support we had followed us everywhere. Tipperary football doesn’t have a huge amount of support and 3,000 or 4,000 is a big crowd for us. So the pressure of being outnumbered by away support, lads will be used to that.
"They hope to win that elusive All-Ireland and they have so many fantastic footballers but sometimes it’s not meant to be. Hopefully Tipperary can take advantage of that. I see them having the pace to bother Mayo but if we allow Mayo to have the ball I see only one outcome.
Who knows, with the hurlers gone the Tipp support might be bigger but either way it won’t affect the footballers.”
Although Toomey felt Tipp were “lethargic” against Cork, he stresses the scoring power of Michael Quinlivan and Conor Sweeney is not something Mayo would ignore had they the opportunity to pick them.
“Quinlivan can do that job. He has proven he can play in tight spaces as has Sweeney and outside of Dublin and Kerry both of them would make any team — Quinlivan would be on every team-sheet. Dublin and Kerry might have more mobile forwards but Quinlivan and Sweeney are lethal as scorers and score-makers. Against Cork, the ball was sent into them but they didn’t capitalise on it.”
Toomey was disappointed with Tipperary’s showing losing to Cork. “The first 15 minutes, Tipperary were going really well and Steven O’Brien was dominating but then balls were being sent in deep to the full-forward line and they weren’t sticking. A couple of chances weren’t put away.
“Cork grew into it and Luke Connolly had too much for the Tipp inside backs. Tipperary didn’t really get behind the ball to cover their full-backs whereas Cork did and that was the difference.”
But now that they are underdogs again the Arravale Rovers man feels they will be more at ease despite more than holding their own in Division 2 this year.
“Tipperary are dangerous in the way they’re coming into this. It’s a question of how long they can stay in the game because Mayo are big and powerful and Donie Buckley will have them sharp. Tipperary have to get it into their heads that they will need to score 15 or 16 times.”
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