Tipperary senior footballers resume their championship season on Saturday week next, 11th July, with a home draw at Semple Stadium against Louth.
Following their six-points defeat to Kerry in Thurles in the Munster semi-final on 14th June, Tipperary will be hoping to get their season up-and-running once again with a win over the Leinster side.
The teams met earlier in the year in March when Tipperary triumphed by 4-16 to 3-11 in a Division 3 game played in Drogheda. But despite the comfortable look of the scoreboard it was a game that was up for grabs well into the second half before Louth were reduced to 14 men with the dismissal of Eoin O’Connor with 20 minutes remaining.
Another feature of that game was a hat-trick of goals by Louth forward Peter Crilly.
However, for Louth it would have been a league campaign they would want to forget. Just two wins and five defeats saw them eventually relegated to Division 4 for next year alongside Wexford.
It was back to Drogheda on 17th May for Louth when they took on Westmeath in the opening round of the Leinster championship but again defeat was their lot, comprehensively this time, on a 3-14 to 0-16 scoreline.
On Saturday last in their first round qualifier the Wee County proved too strong for Division 4 side Leitrim winning eventually by 1-17 to 0-11.
In an initial reaction to Monday morning’s draw, county senior football selector Michael O’Loughlin said that Tipperary “were happy with the fact that they had received a home draw regardless of the opposition. The key thing is getting a home draw in these qualifiers. We are looking forward to the game on Saturday week and hoping we can get the fantastic Tipp support we got for the Kerry game behind us once again. It should be a great weekend for Tipperary Gaels and Thurles in particular with the footballers out on the Saturday evening and the Munster hurling finals on the Sunday,” he said.
“We have a tough assignment ahead of us and when we played Louth in the league in was a good open game all through. They play with an attacking style and we conceded 3-11 against them in Drogheda. That day we got a good start but Louth fought their way back in to the game and led in the second half before we rallied once more. They are a side capable of punishing you and we will have to focus particularly on our defence to ensure we do not concede as freely in the qualifiers. We experienced a tough game in the league and we expect no different when we play again next weekend” he added.
“Louth too will be happy enough with this draw and they will see it as a very winnable game for themselves. They got a huge confidence boost on Saturday last with a good win against Leitrim. They certainly won’t be afraid of coming to Thurles and will look forward to it now that they have a bit of momentum building up,” Michael concluded.
Should Tipperary prevail against Colin Kelly’s side on Saturday week they will once more go into the hat and will play one of the winners from the other 1B games which are: Derry v Wexford; Tyrone v Meath; Armagh v Galway. Home advantage for all the Ulster sides will see them start as favourites next weekend.
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