By Noel Dundon
Tipperary senior football Manager Peter Creedon has a pretty straight forward outlook on the game and a very pragmatic appoach to playing a highly fancied Cork in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday evening next.
He might be facing his native county in the provincial semi-final, but his desire for Tipperary to further their excellent run in 2014 burns brightly , eventhough he is practical enough to know that The Premier County face a massive challenge against a top four team.
“In a game when you are massive underdogs all you want to do is go out on the pitch and perform to the best of your ability.
“One thing we have to do is take our points. Against a division 1 team and that has to be one goal for us. Take it one play at a time and no matter what the score is at any particular time, I expect us to keep trying hard. That’s been our way over the last couple of years and I don’t expect that to be any different,” Peter told The Tipperary Star this week when we met up with him after training in Dr Morris Park.
Training, he says, has been hard with the emphasis on focusing on the Rebel challenge . Victory over Limerick - Tipp’s first Munster championship success in eleven years - was not over-celebrated. Instead, it was back to training, a recalibration of the goals, and attempting to devise a gameplan to cope with what Cork will bring. The training has been full of purpose and was designed to create match-like situations to give the players every opportunity to replicate what will face them in Cork, in so far as is possible anyway.
“It was a hard session after the Limerick game. There was quiet satisfaction and the one thing about us as a group, we don’t get too high when we win, and we don’t get too low when we lose. At the end of the day it is a game, a sport, a hobby we are doing, and as long as we get enjoyment out of it and we win more matches than we lose - our stats show that, we have more good days than bad days. Every championship game is tough but its important not to over think it,” he says.
Perhaps it is wise not to over-think, or emphasise the season that Tipperary have had so far, especially in the context of the up-coming contest. Tipp have achieved promotion to division 3, winning division four in the process. But, what can this offer the side as they prepare to head south to Pairc Ui Chaoimh to take on one of the best teams in the country? Little enough, one would think. But, the one thing Tipperary have this season is a quiet confidence. That has materialised from the run of victories and so too has a style which sees a keep-ball mentality coupled with a high energy approach and emphatic work ethic. It’s having an effect - the question is, how far can it take Tipp?
“Bar our crazy two minutes against Wicklow we would have been undefeated all season. This team is well capable of being a top team in the country and that’s what they are capable of if they want to stick at it and work hard. They can be serious contenders for a lot of major honours in time.
“As individuals we have come up against Cork quite a lot between U-21 and minor. I know them from the club scene as well and they are being talked up as the second or third best team in the country. But, we have been training hard and trying to make sure that we are well focused for Cork. We need to get a good start and take us to half time and assess where we are at by that stage,” Peter says.
Tipperary of course, defeated Cork on their last competitive outing Leeside - the McGrath cup victory of 2013 in Pairc Ui Rinn helping to set the scene for a night to remember. Cork were not exactly quaking in their boots after that defeat, but the game was significant from a Tipp viewpoint and offers some suggestion that Saturday’s outing for Cork will not be routine.
Being honest, it would be a major upset were Tipp to win this game. But, it says a lot about how far Peter Creedon’s men have come in recent times, and of their level of maturity, that they can talk about having composure, winning phases of the game, and assessing how they are going during the course of a contest. It’s no longer a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants’ approach. It’s now measured and planned.
Let’s see how far it takes them.