This weekend the Tipperary footballers take on Waterford in the Munster championship, having come within a point of an early All-Ireland title in the U21 final.
There was plenty of fall-out from that defeat to Tyrone, but senior boss Peter Creedon says it’s history now.
“When you lose a big match like that, you are going to take what you can in terms of what you can learn from it and there are certain things we can learn from that.
“When you lose a game by a point or win by a point, it doesn’t necessarily mean you did everything right or did everything wrong, but it was a great campaign, and gave us great confidence for what we are doing as a management team.
Tommy (Toomey, manager) did a great job there, as well, we got four very good performances out of the boys.” Creedon says most of those U21s had college exams soon afterwards to distract them. Third level commitments aren’t always so helpful to a county manager, though.
“We went up to Armagh and played exceptionally well and lost by a point, but we played really well that day.
“Up in Fermanagh we didn’t play well. It was the middle of the Sigerson and a few of our players were really tired. But look, we retained our status (in Division Three) fairly comfortably, in my opinion, we just weren’t strong enough this year to get up and challenge for promotion to Division Two – and maybe another year in (Division) three is not the end of the world, either.
“We went through a league campaign this year with seven guys who were 20 or younger, so maybe that is going to happen, you are never going to get everything perfect – we are bedding in a new goalkeeper as well and it is only when you do that, that you realise it takes seven or eight games to bed in a new goalkeeper.
“We would have liked to have got promotion, we weren’t a million miles off it but we have to accept where we ended up.” Combining consistency and progress is a tall order. In Tipp it’s made harder by dual commitments.
“We made the last 12 two of the last three years, and the year in the middle, we got a right tanking below in Killarney to Kerry - then we lost five key players in hurling matches in club games the following weekend so we went up to Galway minus five of our better players.
“That is the challenge we have in Tipperary, our lads will have played four club matches in the last week and a half, between football and hurling – that is what we have to live with.” It means less has to be more with the county seniors sometimes.
“To maintain the energy in the likes of Colin (O’Riordan)’s legs, between the amount of college and club football they have played already this season – we gave them weeks off to keep them fresh, and that means sometimes you can’t practise the kick-out strategy because they are not there.
“But once they move beyond the age of 21, and hopefully they will all stick at the football, the future is good for Tipp – and we will be there or thereabouts and not every team will like playing us.” Creedon feels the suggestion that Tipp could win a senior football All-Ireland in the next six years is “achieveable”.
“We made a breakthrough at 21, which a lot of people said wouldn’t happen.
“What we need to start doing first is getting to Munster finals, we need to start beating Cork and Kerry, we haven’t done that in a long, long time, then we need to take out a Division 1 team in the qualifiers.
“If we started doing that, and get up to Division 2 or Division 1, you might have a chance of getting to All-Ireland semi-final in the next couple of years, but the top teams have gone so far ahead in terms of preparation
“There is a sense of respect (in Tipperary) for what we are doing, a couple of games last year were double-headers and meant people saw us who wouldn’t have ordinarily, but Tipp is traditionally a hurling county, will always be. But look, if we win Munster, take out Cork or Kerry in a big game, it will add a bit more to it.”
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