Coming off possibly their most comprehensive victory in Munster football, and the success of their U21s, it wouldn’t be remiss to consider this Tipperary’s greatest chance of overturning Kerry in the championship in 87 years.
A growing number of Peter Creedon’s panel, as they come through from underage, don’t know what it’s like to fear the green and gold.
Their U21 side may have approached the recent All-Ireland final with some naivety but cuteness will be required on Sunday if they are to defy the odds.
In that performance against Waterford and their undeniable potential, they possess more than hope but otherwise there is so little to base a prediction of an upset on.
In 2013, Tipperary were humbled by 13 points. They had given a fine account of themselves the year previous but it was an outlier performance when in 2011 they lost by 11 points and 12 the season before that.
It’s become fashionable for Kerry to dismiss their tradition of late but in almost 60 years, Tipperary have come close to beating them on just five occasions:
2012: Kerry 0-16 Tipperary 0-10
With 12 minutes left of this provincial quarter-final in Thurles, Tipperary were just four points in arrears on a day when their defence coped admirably against a vaunted Kerry attack, whose six starters scored just five points from play.
The post-mortem in Kerry wasn’t pretty. “People get carried away — it was the first round of the championship,” Darran O’Sullivan recalled shortly after the game.
“I didn’t lose sleep over the game. In Kerry, people want to see that fluid football and things going right all the time. It was just one of those days when it didn’t go right.”
1999: Kerry 1-11 Tipperary 0-8
Of the injustices done against Tipperary football, this quarter-final in Tralee stands a close second to Cork’s use of a sixth substitute in 2002.
Kerry had been held scoreless for almost half an hour in the second half but the damage had been done in the eighth minute when Gerry Murphy’s shot was deemed a goal even though it clearly hit the stanchion. Tipperary appealed the result but failed.
“The big boys like Cork and Kerry are the teams who always get the breaks. It was a total disgrace what went on out there,’’ said Tipperary selector Colm O’Flaherty. All the same, Kerry had two penalties saved.
1998: Kerry 0-17 Tipperary 1-10
Declan Browne fired over seven points in this Munster final in Semple Stadium and a mere one-point margin stood between the sides at half-time, 0-7 to 0-6.
Kerry looked more like themselves in the second half before substitute James Williams’ goal for Tipperary. But the Kingdom kept calm and quickly consolidated their lead.
Brendan Cummins, who lined out at wing forward for Tipperary that day, stated: “After we got the goal we needed to get another point quickly in order to build on it but instead they scored and that gave them breathing space and seemed to give them real confidence.”
1997: Kerry 2-12 Tipperary 1-10
Described by Derry Foley as the biggest regret he had playing for Tipperary against Kerry. “The one that we always talk about when we meet up is the game in 1997,” he told a newspaper years after that Munster semi-final.
“We had Kerry beaten that day in Tralee and blew it and we will never forgive ourselves for losing. Declan Browne came of age and we were dominating. We were the better side on the day as the likes of Brian Burke, John Costello, Christopher McGrath, Tom Macken, Peter Lambert and myself were maturing. Declan was giving Seamus Moynihan a torrid time and scored a brilliant goal for us.”
Kerry kicked 18 wides to Tipperary’s three as Denis O’Dwyer’s goal with less than 10 minutes left proved crucial.
1958: Kerry 1-6 Tipperary 0-7
It was Mick O’Dwyer from wing-back that spared Kerry’s blushes in a Munster semi-final in Thurles.
A year before, Waterford had enjoyed one of their most famous days in football when they knocked Kerry out of the championship. A second such defeat to minnows would have been cataclysmic in the county but O’Dwyer worked wonders on a day when the whole forward line posted just three points.
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