Tipperary’s momentum a major threat to Tribesmen
Peter Creedon says a quarter-final would represent major progress for his young side
Tipperary’s Barry Grogan celebrates with manager Peter Creedon after the victory over Laois at O’Moore Park. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Of all the Tipperary supporters converging on Tullamore this evening, one man is taking particular joy from their eye-catching run through the All-Ireland summer.
When Declan Browne was one of the most incandescently skilful forwards in the sport, it was generally considered his misfortune that he hadn’t been born further south so he could have picked up a trove of All-Ireland medals with Kerry.
It was never a sentiment that Browne shared: a dual player, he was in the extreme minority in caring more about Tipp football than hurling and managed to win two All-Star awards despite the brevity of Tipp’s football summers.
There is a sense that Tipperary’s time as a football county has finally arrived but even as Browne enjoyed the half-time applause given to Peter Creedon’s team following their blistering show against Laois, a curious thought struck him.
“The last two games were double-bills with our hurlers and I genuinely believe that a lot of the hurling people at that Laois game didn’t realise how good our football team was. They played unbelievable stuff in the first half and got a standing ovation coming off which probably backfired a small bit. They went into the shell then a bit.
Big support“But I really think the Tipp supporters didn’t know what our lads were up to. And I know it is hard on the pockets and it is expensive to go to Tullamore on Saturday and then Thurles for the hurling on Sunday but they deserve a big support.”
Of course, as Browne well knows, sometimes ‘deserve’ has nothing to do with it. Tipp probably deserved to beat Cork in the opening round of the Munster championship this year. “That bit of naivety cost us,” says Browne. It has happened before.
And Tipp football has flared before too. They made it to the last 12 back in 2003 when Browne gave an exhibition in Croke Park even as his team went down to Donegal. They made it to the last 12 two years when Down beat them 1-13 to 0-11 in Mullingar.
But Browne feels that that football has a more consistently high profile within the county now than it did when he played.
When Tipperary won the Munster U-16 championship last week, it meant another generation of young footballers coming through without any fear of what playing Cork and Kerry meant.
That alone is something Browne finds hard to comprehend.
“When we played, you were written off automatically and that does creep into your mind. The beauty of it is that this bunch couldn’t care less who they play.
Big gun“Going back to the All-Ireland minor win of 2011, there was a buzz which seems to be increasing every year. It is like anything in life: you must get the results to get the following.
“This year we are going about it the right way but Saturday is going to be a bigger test and I think we need to take out a big gun to really drive home our progress.”