John Maughan hails Tipp and Clare campaigns

Former Mayo manager is impressed by progress of underdog counties so far

Clare’s David Turbidy celebrates scoring the first goal of the game in their clash with Roscommon. Photo: Inpho

Clare’s David Turbidy celebrates scoring the first goal of the game in their clash with Roscommon. Photo: Inpho

 

Sunday’s All-Ireland football quarter-finals create history with the first appearance at this stage of Munster counties Tipperary and Clare. Their presence brings to five the number of counties from the province to have taken their place in the round that traditionally signals the start of the serious business in the football championship.

The two counties were involved in exciting matches against Roscommon and Derry and Tipp’s victory in the latter was one of the matches of the summer.

John Maughan, who managed Mayo to three All-Ireland finals and is a regular radio pundit, is of the opinion that those qualifiers were the first major events of the championship. “Last weekend provided the first great excitement of the championship. Tipperary and Clare were excellent and reaching their first All-Ireland quarter-finals is a significant achievement.”

He has a special interest in those achievements as his early managerial career was spent in Munster where he devised one of the great shocks of modern football – Clare’s 1992 Munster final defeat of Kerry and he was familiar with football in the province around that time.

Unbeatable

“I’ve never forgotten being on the side line in 1991 and thinking that if we could get the fitness levels right we could trouble Kerry. It was common knowledge that Kerry liked to hit the sweet spot later in the summer and although in ‘92 they had already defeated Cork in the first round that had been in May and they were building for the All-Ireland series.

Vulnerability

The timing of Tipperary’s and Clare’s emergence is ironic that the Munster Council reversed the open draw reform only recently and caused a storm among the traditionally less successful counties from which a compromise emerged seeding Cork and Kerry to the semi-finals but having an open draw at that stage.

Maughan says that whereas Clare have been impressive making their way to this stage – “1-13 against Sligo in the second half speaks for itself and in Gary Brennan they have the Player of the championship” – Tipperary deserve particular praise for their progress given the number of players lost to various causes, from the AFL to the county hurlers.

He said Tipp have shown great “confidence and composure to reach a special day for football in the county.”

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