GAELIC FOOTBALL

Relegation threat now very real for the Tipperary footballers who prepare to face Kildare in Newbridge on Saturday

Brian McDonnell

Reporter:

Brian McDonnell

Email:

bmcdonnell@tipperarystar.ie

Relegation threat now very real for the Tipperary footballers who prepare to face Kildare in Newbridge on Saturday

Tipperary manager Liam Kearns pictured with players Conor Sweeney and Brian Fox.

The threat of a potential relegation from division two of the Allianz National Football League hangs over Tipperary as Liam Kearns' men face into the final two rounds. And, on Saturday, March 16 the Premier County will hope to locate some precious points when Tipperary pay a visit to St Conleth's Park in Newbridge to face Kildare (throw-in 2.30pm).

Tipperary are out of the promotion picture and are joint-bottom of the division on three points alongside Clare and Cork while Kildare are fourth on five points.

Most recently Kildare lost to Meath (1-8 to 1-9), but they beat both Clare (1-16 to 0-13) and Cork (1-10) while also suffering a defeat at the hands of Fermanagh (0-6 to 0-8). Kildare's status in the division is not altogether assured and Cian O'Neill's men will be determined to avoid a relegation dog fight with a win on Saturday.

Meanwhile Tipperary will be hoping to avoid a third successive division two defeat having most recently lost to Cork (0-12 to 1-12) and Armagh (0-12 to 1-15). In the opening round the Premier County drew with Fermanagh (2-5 each) and will now be hoping to replicate the rousing form which Liam Kearns' men displayed in their 3-9 to 0-13 win over Donegal.

A number of Tipperary players - most notably Michael Quinlivan - are expected to return to the blue and gold colours this weekend and all players of such pedigree are welcome especially against a Kildare outfit who beat the Premier County in division three of the league with eleven points to spare (2-13 to 1-5) at Clonmel as recently as 2016.

On that March day Kildare roared into a 1-6 to no-score lead and carved out a nine-point interval advantage (1-7 to 0-1). The Lillywhites were promoted that season and in 2017 graduated to division one. Kildare were relegated from the top tier in 2018, but the side managed by Cian O'Neill are very capable and Tipperary will need to be at their very best to get anything out of this encounter.

In the final round of games Tipperary will host neighbours Clare on Sunday, March 24.

For the 2016 league meeting between the sides Tipperary lined out as follows: Evan Comerford, Colm O’Shaughnessy, Alan Campbell, Ciaran McDonald, Jimmy Feehan, Robbie Kiely, Kevin Fahey, Alan Moloney, Martin Dunne, Josh Keane, Peter Acheson, Jason Lonergan, Conor Sweeney, Michael Quinlivan and Philip Austin. Billy Hewitt, George Hannigan, Ian Fahey and Shane Leahy were introduced as substitutes.

On that occasion the Kildare team under manager Cian O'Neill lined out as follows: Mark Donnellan, Peter Kelly, Ciaran Fitzpatrick, Ollie Lyons, David Hyland, Fergal Conway, Cian O’Donoghue, Kevin Feely, Tommy Moolick, Adam Tyrell, Niall Kelly, Eoghan O’Flaherty, Daniel Flynn, Paul Cribbin and Eamonn Callaghan.

FOOTBALL PANEL

The senior football team is captained this season by Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen) while Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers) is vice-captain. And, the full panel reads as follows: Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen), Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers), Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Ciaran Kenrick (Moyle Rovers), Michael O'Reilly (Clonmel Commercials), Paddy Codd (Killenaule), Shane O'Connell (Golden-Kilfeacle), Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Robbie Kiely (Carbery Rangers), Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule), Dave McGrath (Moyle Rovers), John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney), Gavin Whelan (Ardfinnan), Paudie Feehan (Killenaule), Colm O'Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan), Emmet Moloney (Drom & Inch), Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials), Josh Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle), Liam Casey (Cahir), Steven O'Brien (Ballina), Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials), Brian Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty), Conal Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials), Cian O'Connell (Golden-Kilfeacle), Ben Hyland (Fr Sheehy's), Paul Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Paul Shanahan (Upperchurch-Drombane), Jack Delahunty (Newport), Daire Brennan (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Jason Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials), Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials), Philip Austin (Borrisokane), Kevin O'Halloran (Portroe), Dan O'Meara (Kiladangan), Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers), Luke Boland (Moyle Rovers), Darragh O'Leary (Ardfinnan), Shane Foley (Moyle Rovers), Liam McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) and Tommy Lowry (Arravale Rovers).

FURTHER READING

To keep up to date with all the sporting news in Tipperary please click here - to follow the Tipperary Star sports team on twitter please click here - to follow sports editor Brian McDonnell on Twitter please click here. Alternatively, you can also like the Tipperary Star on Facebook.