A quicker start and Derry can reach a first quarter-final in nine years
Mark Lynch is the key man for the Ulster county but Tipperary will punish a slow start
Derry’s Mark Lynch will need to deliver a big performance on Saturday. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho
All-Ireland SF Qualifiers
Round Four A
Another novel fixture in the qualifiers, this brings together two unexpectedly high-achieving teams. Tipperary’s perseverance in the face of so much adversity in terms of losing players was spectacularly illustrated in the win over Cork and to a lesser extent in the feisty challenge laid down to Kerry.
Disappointment with the venue - their opponents played here just last weekend - coloured Tipp’s early reaction to the draw but having competed well with two teams who spent the spring in Division One they take on a team, which for all its resilience has still followed up an average concession, in Division Two of the league, of 0-19 with a barely improved championship total of 0-18.
Good news maybe for Tipp in that they’ve averaged a couple of goals a match despite the high-calibre opposition but equally the problem for Liam Kearns’s team is that they’ve been similarly leaky themselves.
Derry have recovered well however from the mauling by eventual Ulster champions Tyrone and rode their lock to take advantage of Louth’s six-day turnaround, another Meath second-half fade-out and the indiscipline that cost Cavan a man when Fergal Flanagan was sent off before half-time.
Manager Damien Barton has got a great response from the team and his use of the bench last week was very effective in that Niall Toner kicked three points from play in the last quarter and Enda Lynn also made an impact coming in as a replacement.
The chief operator for the team has however been Mark Lynch, whose accuracy and reliability has been integral to the comeback victories over both Meath and Cavan.
Barton also paid tribute to Chrissy McKaigue’s marking job on Gearóid McKiernan but defensively they’ll need to be on their guard again given the threat posed by Michael Quinlivan, Brian Fox and Conor Sweeney.
If Derry again start slowly they will find Tipp less accommodating in facilitating a comeback but they do have the bit between their teeth and can reach a first All-Ireland quarter-final in nine years.
Previously: Like Saturday’s other qualifier, this is a first championship meeting for these counties.
You bet: Derry 1/2, Tipperary 11/5 and the draw at 8/1.
Just the ticket: Stand €20, juveniles €5 and concessions available for senior citizens and students.