Mixed emotions in Tipp camps to championship draw fates
By Shane Brophy
Respective Tipperary managers Liam Sheedy and David Power will have had contrasting emotions following the draws for the Munster senior hurling and football championships made on Monday morning.
The senior hurlers will be relatively pleased having avoided being drawn in the first round, progressing straight to the semi-finals on 3-4 July, against either Clare or Waterford, who will meet in the sole quarter final. Holders Limerick and Cork will meet in in the other semi-final.
The fact that Tipperary’s first championship match will come three weeks after their final league game, set to be against Waterford at Walsh Park on 12-13 June, they won’t be coming in unduly stale whereas Clare or Waterford will be expected to have just a week to recover from their quarter final, likely on 26-27 June, before taking on the Premier County, with the full schedule to be confirmed later this week.
As was the case last year, all games will be played at neutral venues with a clash with Clare likely to be played at the LIT Gaelic Grounds while a meeting with Liam Cahill’s Deise will be at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
If Tipperary reach the Munster Final, which is fixed for Sunday 18th July, they are guaranteed to be in an All-Ireland quarter final on 31 July/1 August, however, should they lose their provincial semi-final, they will coming into the first round of the qualifiers on 17-18 July.
Defending Munster champions has a nice ring to it from a Tipperary footballing perspective and with it comes progression straight to the provincial semi-finals, but that is where the luck ran out for the premier county following their draw.
Tipperary will face either Kerry or Clare in the Munster semi-final, likely to be on the weekend of 10-11 July. It is the shortest of short straws they could have drawn considering a stung Kerry from their early championship exit in 2020, will be expected to come through against the Banner, plus will have a championship game under their belt. If that proves to be the case, Tipperary will begin their defence of the Munster title with a home game in Semple Stadium, but if Clare do manage to cause an upset, a semi-final would be played in Ennis.
The one downside of progressing straight to a Munster semi-final is that Tipperary could have a four week wait from the end of the league to the championship which is straight knockout only with no qualifiers. Tipperary’s final guaranteed league game will be on 12-13 June, either a semi-final or a relegation playoff in division 3. There are league finals set for 19-20 June and David Power’s charges would be keen to get there to get an extra match to cut their gap to the championship down to three weeks. However, there is no guarantee that final will be played as if a county are in championship action on the weekend of 26-27 June, the league deciders will be cancelled so as to give all counties a guaranteed two week lead into their first championship game.