ALL-IRELAND SFC ROUND 4A:
Galway v Tipperary
Peter Creedon felt positive about his Tipperary squad when he saw them recover so quickly from defeat to Cork.
The Premier footballers suffered an agonising defeat to the Rebels in the Munster SFC semi-final, and the Corkman was concerned it had taken a lot out of them, but the signs were good the next morning.
“The fact that every one of them showed up for the pool that morning, we knew we were ready to re-focus, that they were ready to get back into it.
“And they were proud of themselves, too. I know we’d lost a big championship game to Cork, which is always disappointing, but they were proud of their performance, proud of the effort they’d made, and so were we. We just said, ‘let’s drive on for the next game now’, that was the important part, and we did. The two-week break helped too, though.”
They made the most of it, downing Longford (2-17 to 0-6) and Laois (3-17 to 4-9). Fair scoring.
“At the start of the year we sat down as a management team,” says Creedon, “All of us together, and said, ‘if we’re going to get out of Division 4 we’re going to have to improve our scoring’.
“We felt all-out attack might be a help, and we’re tinkering with it, but we were surprised by our scoring against Longford, there’s no point in saying otherwise. We were surprised by the scoreline against Laois as well.
“On the other hand we got 1-11 against Cork, and that was a game in which we’d targeted getting 16 scores. We didn’t reach that target. We take every game on its merits but we’re delighted with the scoring, though, in general.”
Shipping four goals against Laois wasn’t that pleasing, but Creedon and co analysed those scores closely: “You don’t like conceding them, but looking afterwards at the tape . . . two of them came from our own poor turnovers, which is fair enough.
“I give credit to Laois for one of the others, which was a very good goal. The fourth goal came about when Ciaran McDonald made an absolutely wonderful tackle but the ball then ricocheted off three fellas’ legs and into a Laois forward’s hands. “You don’t like conceding goals, but from our point of view the response to conceding those goals was everything, really.”
Creedon describes the squad as “level enough” individuals.
“I’m there two-and-a-half years and we got to the last 12 a couple of years back, last year we worked really, really hard but it was just that a couple of results went against us.
“They’re level enough, though. They are. I suppose there’s a burning desire within the group to earn respect, and they’re beginning to get that, within the county and without. You get that by winning matches, though. Tradition and culture will always dictate that hurling is the number one game in Tipperary. I have no issue with that. What’s important is that our players get recognition for being a half-decent football team.
“Realistically if you’re competing in Division 2 and giving Division 1 a rattle then there’s the potential to become a serious outfit, but for us it’s year on year, really.”
Winning games raises expectations and generates pressure, however.
“It probably does, but the biggest pressure will come from yourself.
In the last month how many managers have you seen coming out and saying, ‘my team didn’t perform’ after a game?
“We’ll have to handle that. We can’t keep it low key all the time, but we don’t get too high over wins and we don’t get too low over losses either, and I think that transfers to the players, too.”
Tomorrow night it’s Galway. A county with a tradition but also, as Creedon points out, healthy underage success to spearhead a new generation’s challenge. He’s realistic and optimistic at once. “Tomorrow night it could happen that we come out and get beat, and if that happens we’ll have to take it on the chin,” he says.
“What strikes me about Galway this year is the transition — they did well enough against Cork last year, they ran them very close, but I think there are eight or nine new players in place now this year. Galway strike me as a team that could unleash a good performance, they have four or five good forwards and a strong midfield, and they did reasonably well in the Connacht final against Mayo.
“They’re another Division 2 team — they lost to Laois in the league, but from what we’ve seen of the championship those results haven’t been hugely relevant. If they come with their A game we’ll be under pressure but, at the same time, if we play well we’ll have a chance.”
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