By Noel Dundon
Tipperary Football Board Chairman Noel Morris has lauded the underage structures in the county, in advance of the All-Ireland minor football semi-final tie against Roscommon in Croke Park on Sunday afternoon next.
The Tipp lads have won a lot of admirers en-route to the penultimate game in the championship and have taken the scalps of Cork, Kerry and Meath along the way. And, the Borrisokane man claims that the work of the development squads is now coming through and beginning to show Tipperary football in a brilliant, shining light.
“There is no question but that the work of the development squads is paying off. There is an awful lot of people giving of their time in a voluntary capacity, coaching lads, and getting involved in the development squads and I think we seem to have the under age structure right in the county at the present time. Last year we won the U-15, U-16 and U-17 Munster titles and those players have come through the system. The key for us now, is to make sure that they continue to progress on up to senior level in a few years time, “Noel told The Tipperary Star this week.
The Premier County will be hoping to bridge a 27 year gap in reaching the All-Ireland Final. And, curiously enough, it was Dublin who defeated the Seamus McCarthy Managed Tipp side of 1984 - the Dubs are hot favourites to take the All-Ireland crown again this year.
But, Noel is quick to point out that Tipperary folk will take nothing for granted on Sunday. Yes, it might be nice to dream of an All-Ireland Final for the minor footballers, but the semi-final, and a stern test against Roscommon must be overcome first of all.
“I don’t know an awful lot about Roscommon, but they are Connacht champions and must be respected. We have a job to do and we have shown already this year that we can match the best of them on our day. We have a very skillful team and they play exciting football. It’s great to be playing in Croke Park - a good day for Tipp football - but ultimately you have to win these games to make them great days,” Noel says.
The Tipp lads have enjoyed great support in their campaign to date. They seem to have gotten the Tipperary public behind them and with great wins under their belts, the supporters have come along and voted with their feet for the team. There was a big Tipp attendance in the crowd at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise for the quarter final tie on the Bank Holiday Monday, and Noel Morris is hoping that the supporters will turn out again in Croke Park on Sunday.
“We had tremendous support in Portlaoise - the biggest support of the four teams playing that day. I would encourage people to come along and get behind the team again in Croke Park. It’s not every day you see Tipp playing football in Croke Park and please God we’ll see a lot more of it in the years to come. But Sunday will be a big day for football in the county and it would be great to have a good Tipp following in attendance. It would give the players a big lift,” Noel said.
As Chairman of the Football Board, Noel Morris has seen a lot of success coming the way of The Premier County. And, he is also delighted to report great support and co-operation from the divisional boards in terms of the playing of games and facilitating training.
“That’s very important and needs to be acknowledged. I know from my own time in the Chair at county and divisional level, how difficult it is to get games played. But, in fairness to everyone they have been extremely co-operative and that is much appreciated because it will give the lads every chance to give this semi-final their best shot. That’s all we can ask for,” he says.