Sports

Armagh next up for Tipperary footballers

Thursday, 13 July 2017

MEMORIES of last year's great football journey by Tipperary resurfaced following Tipperary's great win over Cavan at Kingspan Breffni Park last Saturday and as a result they face Armagh next Saturday afternoon in Semple Stadium, the home of Legends

It will the first championship outing between the teams although the sides have met in the league as recently as last Spring.

That day, Tipp travelled to Armagh needing a win and against all the odds they succeeded. The win enabled Tipp reach the Division 3 league final where they beat Louth in spectacular style at Croke Park.

That league win over Armagh was the first in three meetings as the sides met in 2010 when Armagh won 1-15 to 2-8 at Crossmaglen. Two years ago, the teams met in Crossmaglen once more with the Orchard County winning by the minimum 2-8 to 0-13.

Tipperary manager Liam Kearns relished the win over Cavan but wasn't looking too far ahead. "It's a fantastic achievement by the players to get into the next round and if we get over that we have a two week break and we could become dangerous," said the Tipp boss after the game.

"You might start thinking of Croke Park but that's too far away at the moment. We are patching up fellas at the moment and giving them twenty minutes here and there," he said.

"Philip Austin hadn't played for four months while Michael Quinlivan's injury was a six or seven week layoff and it was only in the days leading up to the game (v Cavan) that we felt there was ten minutes in him," added Kearns.

Tipperary have a good record against Northern counties in recent times with Derry and Cavan beaten in the last twelve months. Remember they beat Down in the league final 2009 and Philip Austin and George Hannigan were involved back then.

The new kids on the block have certainly added steel and speed to the side with Robbie Kiely, Bill Maher and Jimmy Feehan completing a half back line that is second to none. Both George Hannigan and Liam Casey are a formidable midfield pairing while up front, Conor Sweeney is a shoe in for an All-Star award. Brian Fox, Josh Keane, Kevin O'Halloran and Liam Boland have a match winning ability. What of young Jack Kennedy, a new player and has given notice of a great future.

What of Armagh? Last Saturday they limped over Westmeath despite finishing the game with fourteen men. Gregory McCabe was sent off with Jamie Clarke and James Morgan both black carded on an evening Kieran McGeeney's men conceded 36 frees. Westmeath on the other hand had two players black carded but remained in contention right up to the end until a late goal by Ethan Rafferty sealed the win for the Armagh men.

Coming to Mullingar and coming away with a win was a big ask for the Orchard County to their ability to ground out wins could pose problems for Tipp. This fact and playing in front of a home crowd could add problems for Tipp but overall one feels that Tipp have the men to pull them through.

If they win, Tipp have stiff opposition in Down, Tyrone, Dublin or Kildare depending on how both the Ulster and Leinster finals go next Sunday. Bring it on.

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