Peter Acheson’s eye firmly fixed on quarter-final place

Tipperary captain believes a win over Derry would secure another huge step forward

Tipperary captain Peter Acheson believes that sealing a place in the All-Ireland senior football quarter-finals is vital to securing the long-term future of the game in the Premier County.

As football continues to battle with hurling for some promising dual players, Acheson wants the big ball code to lay down a marker by seeing off Derry to book a place in the last eight.

And Acheson, 26, reckons that such a signal of progression might entice more players into the football set-up.

The Moyle Rovers dynamo said: “We’re not looking past this game but if we won this, the last eight would be massive for Tipp football, compared to where we were ten or 20 years ago.


Knocked out

“For the lads playing minor and U21 hurling and football, will they decide to play hurling or give the football a go?

“As well as that, we don’t want to be renowned as a team that gets knocked out in the last 12 consistently.”

Tipp have reached this stage of the All-Ireland series for the third time in five seasons but Acheson is anxious to break the ceiling and reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

He said: “There’s a lot more football teams in Ireland than hurling and to compare it, it would be like the hurlers reaching a semi-final. Getting to the last eight would be massive and beating Derry would be a huge statement and another stepping stone.

“Every year we have progressed;, there have been a few setbacks of course but we’re moving forward. If we got to the last eight this year, you’d never know, in a year or two we could make a semi-final.

“You have to set yourself targets and we’ve achieved our target of beating one of the top teams in Munster. Hitting two targets in one year would be huge for us.”

Acheson has confirmed that Tipp will break up their lengthy trip to Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan with an overnight stay in Navan, before completing the journey tomorrow. And he believes the venue for the game favours Derry.

Acheson explained: “It’s an advantage to them, they played there last weekend. It’s closer to home for them but it’s set now. Three weeks since the Munster final is a nice break. If it was the week after, we’d have been in trouble.

“We didn’t train until the following Thursday and then we had ten days of tough work. This week has been about winding down again but we took a lot of positives from the Kerry game. We were still disappointed with the performance, we didn’t really show up on the day but there were a few things we did right and we need to do them for 70 minutes and you’d never know what might happen. Most of Kerry’s scores came from our mistakes – eradicating them is the main thing.”

Acheson is urging his teammates to replicate the levels they showed in the Munster semi-final victory over Cork, as they target victory against the Oak Leaf county.

He added: “We might have caught Cork on the hop a small bit but Derry will be ready and waiting. But we’re in the last 12 for the third time in five years and people don’t take us lightly any more, which is a good thing.”