County training assumptions 'a bit rich' insists Tipp boss David Power
TIPPERARY boss David Power believes it is “a bit rich” for anybody to make assumptions about counties across Ireland training collectively prior to yesterday’s official start date, in the wake of recent breaches from Monaghan and All-Ireland champions Dublin.
Video footage and photographic evidence appearing to show Farney footballers engaged in a training session in Corduff formed part of a dossier that was also sent to the GAA and the Irish government’s Department of Justice earlier this month.
That came just a week after pictures emerged of members of Dublin panel involved in drills, which followed on from two other high-profile breaches of guidelines earlier this year involving Cork and Down.
And while some commentators were quick to tar the majority of counties with the same brush, suggesting those four were simply the unlucky ones to be caught, Power insists the Tipperary panel haven’t been together since their All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Mayo back in December.
He said: “I’ll be open and honest about this - when I head up to Thurles tonight it’ll be the first time we’ll be meeting as a group since the Mayo game.
“I’m not being flippant about it, that’s the nature of it. All the players were given their individual programmes by our S&C coach, Paddy Christie our head football coach would’ve given them things to do from a football point of view… we didn’t meet collectively whatsoever.
“It’s very rich for some of the people that have been talking – are we wrong that we weren’t at it? We made the call not only for the players and the management team but for all our families. We were told not to be meeting up for training, we did the same thing last year, we got a great boost off that and sure results proved that.
“Meeting up in groups of sixes, sevens and eights, in my opinion, can be very counter-productive. Are the players really happy doing it? I guarantee a lot of the players wouldn’t have been happy doing it but they were under pressure probably to do so.
“At times when you hear all this happening you do get itchy feet and you ask yourself ‘are we doing things right?’ But I think, ethically, 100 per cent we are. And look, if it works out that our results fail this year, so be it. That’s sport.
“I’m certainly not going to be coming out saying ‘ah well sure the other team were training longer than us’. At the end of the day, we were playing a month longer than the vast majority of teams last year, so I’m hoping that will stand to us.”
As months of waiting came to an end last night, weeks of wondering finally drew to a close when last year’s surprise Munster champions discovered their fate yesterday – and they will have to overcome the odds once more to hang onto the Munster Cup.
Traditional rivals Cork and Kerry were drawn on opposite sides of this year's provincial Championship, with Power’s men awaiting the winners of the quarter-final clash between the Kingdom and Clare.
On the other side of the draw, Ronan McCarthy's Rebels await the winners of Waterford and Limerick for a place in the decider.
Power, though, says the Premier’s main priority in 2021 will be escaping Division Three.
“Ultimately the League will be the big one for us this year - we want to be getting out of Division Three. But I don’t think there’ll be pressure on us really. With the draw, there’ll be huge talk about a Kerry-Cork final.
“We’ll jump that hurdle when it comes but the first thing on our minds would be the League.”
The Munster Senior Hurling Championship draw was also made yesterday, with All-Ireland champions Limerick beginning their title defence against Cork in the provincial semi-final.
Clare will be eyeing up revenge against Waterford for their nine-point loss to the Deise in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-finals when they meet in this year’s provincial quarter-final.
Tipperary await the winner of that tie, with Cork and Limerick to battle it out on the other side for a place in the decider. Opening-round losers will get a second opportunity to progress through the qualifiers. Times, dates and venues are yet to be confirmed.
Quarter-final: Clare v Waterford
Semi-finals: Limerick v Cork, Tipperary v Clare/Waterford
Quarter-finals: Clare v Kerry, Waterford v Limerick
Semi-finals: Tipperary v Clare/Kerry, Cork v Waterford/Limerick