Immediately after Tipperary’s thrilling 3-17 to 4-9 win over Laois at O’Moore Park manager Peter Creedon was eager to praise the efforts of his players.
“Hats off to the players; they came back strong from being reeled in by Laois. It was a great finish to win by four or five in the end,” a delighted Peter Creedon told the Tipperary Star.
Despite having established a 2-10 to 1-3 interval lead Tipperary were forced to withstand a ferocious assault from the home side in the second half. Indeed, Laois tied the game in the 62nd minute, but Tipperary responded to the challenge.
The prevailing pattern of the game, however, did worry manager Peter Creedon: “Oh, Jesus I was (worried). I can’t say that I wasn’t. When they got the fourth goal it looked like they had all the momentum”.
“It takes fitness and belief in themselves and no lack of talent,” Peter Creedon said when asked to reflect on what was required of his players to see out the game in such emphatic fashion.
“I think everyone did something right at some stage. Fellas made mistakes, but they kept coming back. It was one of those halves when the last quarter of an hour was down to sheer heart and guts and the players having to dig it out. That’s what they did and that’s what we are most proud of.”
Ironically enough Peter Creedon thought that Tipperary enjoyed too big of a lead at the break.
“You can get a bit of stage fright if you are ten points up at half-time. You have to think about what you can say to a team to keep going. At the back of your mind you are sure that you have the game won, but Laois were always going to come back and there was a reasonable wind there as well. Now, we didn’t expect to concede four goals because we had not been doing that. We gave away a few sloppy turnovers,” Peter Creedon explained.
“After a game like that you take the win. The last ten minutes of football from us was brilliant. I thought some of the football that we played in the first half and our movement and our scores was excellent - we could have gone in at half-time fifteen or twenty points up. We didn’t, but credit to Laois; they came back. I am delighted that we got over the line. That would have been a disaster to lose and that could quite easily have happened.”
Peter Creedon also indicated that he was now looking forward to the clash with Galway with a place in the last eight up for grabs: “I think we have two weeks now so we will try to push on and see if we can improve. We are there now and we are going to take a bit of beating. In championship football you have to keep digging up performances through the back door. There may come a day when we will struggle, but we will see. At the moment we will just take everything that we can get.”
On June 9th 2001 Tipperary and Louth fought out the very first qualifier game. In thirteen campaigns since Tipperary have won eight games and lost eleven. If you look closer at the patterns however you will soon note that Tipperary have won six of their last ten qualifier games. That’s a record not to be sniffed at; Tipperary football is on the rise.
“I looked around and I knew from the lads in the team that we had it in us. No one thought it was lost. We knew we had it. We just got the one or two scores and the last goal at the end sealed it for us,” Peter Acheson said as he reflected on Tipperary’s determination to battle to the end and beat Laois.
Some of the football that Tipperary played, in patches, was exceptional, but Acheson realises that lapses in concentration won’t be forgiven against the better sides.
“The first ten minutes were poor. As Peter (Creedon) said to us at half-time we were brilliant for twenty minutes, but what happened to the other fifteen. We need seventy minutes, not twenty and not twenty-five against Galway or Mayo or whoever loses that game. They are both great teams and we have to be at it for seventy or seventy-five minutes to beat them. We will have to step it up the next day again,” Peter Acheson explained.
Now, the thoughts turn to taking on Galway in the last twelve of the 2014 All-Ireland senior football championship.
“This is the second time in the last three years that we have made it to the last twelve,” Peter Acheson added.
“It actually hurt us three years ago when we got to the last twelve and then got rated the 28th best team in the country. That hurt us a bit. I think we want to stand up now and show people what a good team we have. We’re not happy with being in the last twelve; we want to be in the last eight and get even further. We will take it easy now on Tuesday and give a good rattle at the next game”.