By Brian McDonnell
TIPPERARY selector Michael O’Loughlin was thrilled with his side’s gritty display against Kerry at Semple Stadium. Despite losing by six points (0-10 to 0-16) the players received a standing ovation at the final whistle from supporters of the blue and gold.
“We’re probably a bit disappointed with that,” Michael O’Loughlin said as he reflected on a few spurned opportunities.
“We created goal chances, but you have to hand it to them. We took over a division four team and the heads were down when we took them over, but they rallied. We asked them to change their style of football and they gave it everything out there today. They are a fantastic group of lads and we are very proud.
“Look, it was 12 point and 13 point defeat for the last two years and the handicap betting was 11 and 12 points today and we had it down to six and we created the goal chances. It’s probably an opportunity missed, but it is also great encouragement for the future of Tipperary football. There were a lot of positives from it.”
O’Loughlin works alongside fellow selector Gerry McGill while Peter Creedon took over as manager of the Tipperary senior football team following the recent resignation of John Evans.
“It didn’t work out for us today, but we kept going and we kept working for the whole 70 minutes. A Tipperary football team might have died in the past, but we kept going,” added Michael O’Loughlin.
“We held them to 16 points and no goal and Kerry had four of their forwards taken off. They are a great bunch of lads in the backs. We had a little bit of a plan and they stuck to it. It was hard going out there with the weather and everything. It was really warm.”
The Tipperary footballers now turn their attention to the All-Ireland qualifiers, a series that Peter Creedon’s men will now relish.
“We will let them off until Wednesday and then when we get them back we are stepping up the training,” O’Loughlin explained.
“We have a lot of fitness work to do and we will get a few challenge matches and I think the squad will stay together now which is important. It was division four against division one there today, but I think people got their money’s worth and the Tipp crowd were really fantastic. Those lads got a standing ovation coming off the field. It was fantastic.”