Sunday 25 February 2018

Tipperary boss Tommy Toomey: We don't fear Dublin

Memories of 2011 All-Ireland minor shock give Tipp great hope against Farrell's Dubs

9 April 2015; Ian Fahey, Tipperary, after the match. EirGrid Munster U21 Football Championship Final, Tipperary v Cork, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
9 April 2015; Ian Fahey, Tipperary, after the match. EirGrid Munster U21 Football Championship Final, Tipperary v Cork, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE

"WE have experience in the panel," reasons Tipperary under-21 football manager, Tommy Toomey.

"And no better experience than having beaten Dublin in an All-Ireland minor final."

It's true.

Because a was quirk of that Tipperary team who, under the management of now Wexford boss, David Power, beat Dessie Farrell's minor team in the 2011 All-Ireland decider was: not only did they overthrow huge odds and a six-point deficit against a team containing the likes of Jack McCaffrey, Ciarán Kilkenny, Cormac Costello, Paul Mannion and John Small, they also featured a smattering of first year minors - a mostly unusual feature for successful modern teams at that age group.

Which means that the likes of Colin O'Riordan, Bill Maher, Stephen O'Brien, Ian Fahey and Jason Lonergan are still around for Tipp's latest crack at Dublin and Farrell, this Saturday in Tullamore (4.0) in the All-Ireland U21 semi-final, four years after they shocked a county and its manager in Croke Park.

Ergo, the experience of those players couldn't be any more relevant, even if Toomey says it hasn't formed a particularly prominent part of their preparations.

"When we were dealing with the Munster minor championship - and the lads beat Cork in the 2011 Munster minor final - those lads didn't want to really talk about that, to be honest," he explains.

"They just wanted to focus in on the current panel.

"If you look at the team that won that minor title, five of the forwards are gone. And you're talking about building a different team.

"But they're all experienced players and they've been through the mill, with both minor and under-21. Winning and losing.

"They're well experienced. We won't fear Dublin. We'll definitely go out with the knowledge that any team can be beaten on the day."

Noting - naturally enough - that "Dublin have scored very highly," in their three Leinster SFC games to date, Toomey adds: "But we are an attacking team as well.

"If we try and stymie our players going forward and try and set up a defensive operation, I'd say we'd fail at doing it because we're not built like that.

"We want to play and the lads want to get forward and score. Now that leaves us open at the back and Cork scored three goals so if we give that kind of room to Dublin forwards … they've already scored eight goals in the Championship.

"We know that Dublin will be very dangerous if we give them room to play."

Toomey also said he had to take last weekend's round of club hurling fixtures "on the chin," but accepts there may be "changes to the team," for Saturday's O'Connor Park clash as a result.


Sixteen of his victorious Munster winning side were in local hurling action, in some cases just 48 hours after Toomey's men had beaten Cork in Semple Stadium.

Noting that last year's Tipperary senior football champions missed out on competing in the Munster club SFC (Loughmore-Castleiney beat Cahir in a replayed county final on St Stephen's Day) Toomey admitted: "You're looking at the consequences of cancelling club games and you have to weigh that up with the importance of the next match.

"And the next match is obviously of vital importance for us.

"We want to perform well. And we would hope the players will arrive at training hail and hearty.

"And we'll see where they are mentally and whether they have the energy. And it could mean changes to the team.

"But we'll have to deal with that."

"We were checking in with every single one of them to make sure they were alright injury-wise.

"What's seldom is sweet," Toomey adds, confirming a currently rude state of health.

"You can see how the players are going to adapt now to the next game. Have we another fight in us?

"And that's usually the issue. When you have a minnow coming out of Munster, can we perform again?

"The Dublin game is within nine or ten days of us winning the (Munster) Championship," Toomey concludes, "so it will have an effect".

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