Groundswell of support for footballers a big bonus for Tipperary

Big attendance at Thurles shows Premier County are moving in the right direction

Meath’s Graham Reilly scores a goal against Wicklow at Páirc Tailteann: “If Dublin run through the middle of us – if we do manage to get to a Leinster final – we’re going to get kicked out of Croke Park again.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Meath’s Graham Reilly scores a goal against Wicklow at Páirc Tailteann: “If Dublin run through the middle of us – if we do manage to get to a Leinster final – we’re going to get kicked out of Croke Park again.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

The 15-minute delay before Sunday’s Munster football semi-final in Thurles is being seen as one of those good problems. Basically the Munster Council, and Tipperary County Board in their capacity as hosts, didn’t expected a 7,000 walk-up crowd to Semple Stadium before Kerry’s eventual 2-14 to 2-8 victory.

“We were expecting 5,000,” explained Tipperary secretary Tim Floyd. “There was 1,500 tickets sold in advance on the Friday and we factored in the 2,000 Kerry season ticket holders.”

There wasn’t enough ticket sellers around the ground to facilitate the eventual 11,248 official attendance in time for the official throw-in. As a result the Ryan Stand and it’s 11,000 capacity wasn’t enough to cater for demand so the Kinnane Stand had to be opened as supporters walked around the pitch to find their seat.

“It was extraordinary for Tipperary football,” Floyd added. “Sure only 500 turn up for our league games. Kids were free so there was a family feel to the day and as many came from Kerry as well as the large Tipperary support who were interested in seeing the All-Ireland champions and the return of the Gooch. Problem was too many came together as about 1,000 walked up with about five, 10 minutes to throw-in.”

Meanwhile, Meath’s Graham Reilly didn’t bother putting a positive spin on the need for a massive improvement from Mick O’Dowd’s team if they are to beat Westmeath in the Leinster semi-final, never mind Dublin or Kildare in the provincial decider.

“We’re miles off Dublin,” said Reilly after the 2-19 to 3-12 victory over Wicklow in Navan. “Our passing wasn’t crisp enough, our work rate wasn’t good enough. I thought our tempo was okay, we were trying to do the right things but we’ve got to get ball to hand.

“Defensively, we’ve got to set up better. They were running through the middle of us. If Dublin run through the middle of us – if we do manage to get to a Leinster final – we’re going to get kicked out of Croke Park again.”

O’Dowd played six debutants due to a raft of injuries. “It was difficult, I mean the heat out there,” Reilly added, “and first championship game . . But we need to improve.”

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