Sunday will be a significant day for Tipperary’s senior hurlers and footballers, writes Eamonn Wynne.
Following their late reprieve against Dublin last weekend the hurlers entertain great rivals Cork in the National Hurling League quarter-final at Semple Stadium in a game that will start at 3.30.
The footballers, meanwhile, can clinch promotion from Division Four of the National League if they beat Leitrim at Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon (2pm throw-in).
Even if they don’t win they’ll have another opportunity to complete the job the following Sunday when they’re at home to Wicklow.
Despite his well documented dissatisfaction with the arrangement of fixtures within the county, manager Peter Creedon has restored confidence to the footballers.
With four wins and a draw from their five games, they have remained unbeaten in the campaign to date and now stand on the threshold of a return to Division 3.
The team needs to be playing at a higher level than the basement division in order for the game in the county to flourish, so all Tipperary football followers will be keeping their fingers crossed for a win on Sunday.
Their most recent victory came a fortnight ago at Semple Stadium against Antrim, when they won by 3-20 to 2-17.
At half-time Tipp led 2-9 to 1-6 after being in bother for long periods in the first half.
The Northerners had the strong breeze for the second period and had narrowed the gap to just three by the 47th minute.
However the game’s crucial moment soon followed and redirected the flow of the game towards Tipp. Antrim midfielder Niall McKeever was black carded for a jersey pull as Donagh Leahy was about to shoot for goal and Barry Grogan, for the second Sunday in-a-row, blasted a penalty into the Killinan end goal.
Tipp’s hurlers, meanwhile, scraped into the League quarter-finals by the skin of their teeth; victory over Dublin by 3 points, instead of 2, proved the difference between reaching the last eight and a relegation play-off.
Cork secured promotion from Division 1B last Sunday when they beat Wexford by 2-24 to 1-20, which prompted this reaction from manager Jimmy Barry Murphy - “I thought some of our hurling was very good, some great scores got, and we upped the pace at the end, just as we did against Offaly.
We showed we can play some very good hurling.
We’ve a lot to learn from our general play and we’ve work to do to get back to the level we were at last year”.
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