By Brian McDonnell at the Gaelic Grounds
DAVID Power hopes that the magnificent achievement of his minor footballers can inspire Tipperary’s minor and senior hurlers to provincial glory.
“I was delighted last Wednesday week to see Tipp beating Waterford and this gives a platform for all Tipp teams,” a delighted David Power said in the aftermath his side’s three-point win over Kerry at the Gaelic Grounds.
“We’re after starting it and hopefully our minors and seniors can now go on and win their Munster titles as well. And, it’s just fantastic for Tipp GAA. I have always said it that we are one of the few counties that can be a very, very good dual county.”
David Power’s minor footballers made history on Sunday when claiming Tipperary’s first back-to-back Munster titles since 1934-35 and the county’s seventh in all.
“Yeah, but we never spoke about it,” David Power explained.
“We were focused on winning this year’s Munster final and now we have done the two in-a-row. It has been just fantastic.”
In the opening round of this year’s championship Tipperary got the better of Kerry (2-9 to 0-8) in Tralee (the Premier’s first victory on Kerry soil since 1984), but David Power knew that Kerry would learn from that defeat and pose his side a series of difficult questions. Indeed, by the 28th minute of the first half Kerry led 1-9 to 0-5. Tipperary responded to that affront in devastating fashion, however, and led 2-11 to 1-9 by the 43rd minute.
“We played really well at the start of the second half,” manager David Power explained.
“We hit the post in the first half and we were probably a bit unfortunate, but in the second half it was just awesome.
“They played very, very well. They know themselves that they can play a lot better than this. We’re going on there now to an All-Ireland quarter-final and I suppose our next game is to get back to Croke Park. That has to be our aim now.
“Kerry were very, very good, but I think that we have proven now that we are definitely the best minor team in Munster over the last I don’t how many years,” Power added.
“To do two in-a-row is just an amazing achievement, but the way we did it as well - beating Kerry away, Cork in Cork and here now today, beating Kerry now in Limerick, is just fantastic.”
Despite trailing by five points at the brake David Power said that his half-time team talk focused on relaxing his players.
“It was just the basics and trying to get them to relax,” Power added.
“We knew we were a lot better than what we showed. We kept at it and we kept plugging away. It was about relaxing, about getting that composure back and it was about running at Kerry and that’s what happened. I thought we looked a lot tighter in the backline in the second half, but overall the team played very, very well,” David Power said.
“We were just saying to ourselves that we have been in worse situations and we have. You can’t beat us. Whatever it is about the second half we just come alive and it was just fantastic. That reflects on the players.
“The players are great. And, it’s down to everyone: the players, the County Board, everyone, the Friends of Tipperary Football and the Football Board, everyone. We’re a whole big family.
“To beat Cork in last year’s final and Kerry in this year’s final you just can’t get better.”
Meanwhile Kenmare’s Mickey Ned O’Sullivan wants his Kerry team to get another shot at the Tipperary men.
“They were always going to come back at us,” Mickey Ned O’Sullivan said as he reflected on a game which Kerry led by seven points after 28 minutes played.
“Their physical strength across the middle was the deciding factor. A lot of our lads are very young, they don’t have the physique and Tipp just blew us out of it around the middle. We just could not handle it, but we are getting closer and hopefully we will meet them again,” the former Kerry and Limerick senior football manager added.
“The simple thing of trying to get possession of the ball for the first 15 minutes of the second half was very difficult,” Mickey Ned said.
“There was nothing we could do. We tried making changes, but they are big men. I was proud of the lads. They played lovely attractive football in the first half, but it was just the sheer physical presence in the middle third which was the problem.”