Eoin Kelly: Team needs Tipp fans to flood Croke Park for Wexford semi-final

The Tipperary hurlers need you lads!


These kinds of games are no-win situations for the bigger team and that was the case for Tipperary on Sunday – that’s not being disrespectful to Laois in any way.

Laois were into their third match in 14 days, so fatigue was always going to kick in, and so it proved in the last 20 minutes. Going down to 14 men made it just that bit harder for them too.

I’ve played in these types of games and if you win by a couple of points, or you are 18-point winners, there’s always going to be something that people pick on. You can’t win either way.

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The objective for Tipperary was to get a win, and if you offered them a 10-point victory before they went up the road, they would have taken it. At least they got to get rid of the cobwebs from the Munster final.

Tipperary were always in control of the game though and because Laois operated with a sweeper, they didn’t carry a threat of scoring multiple goals.

It wasn’t a top-class performance, but Tipp are building towards the semi-final and that’s the day to get it spot on anyway.

Fans need to match Wexford’s super support

Laois got to show that they’ve got a lot of fight and Tipperary’s supporters were outnumbered four or five to one by people from Laois.

If there’s any learning for me, it’s that Tipperary fans are going to have to get out and get behind the team on Sunday week. Wexford will bring 30,000 or even 35,000 to Croker for the semi-final.

Having played in those types of games, it really drives on the team if you hear a big roar after a score. The Tipp supporters probably felt that they were always going to win the game, but the team are going to need them more than ever for the semi-final.

Lyons stuck with the law

My initial reaction in the stadium was that the penalty Tipperary received was very soft.

Then when I watched it two or three times, you can see there was a pull on Jason Forde’s hurley from a Laois man. You did need to see it a few times to spot that though.

If Colm Lyons saw that pull of the hurley, then it’s a fair enough decision.

As for the red card, I hate to see one really, especially in a game when Laois were the underdogs and you really want them to play the whole thing with 15 on the field.

But, Aaron Dunphy did slap Paudie Maher with the hurley. So, just because it’s Laois coming from the Joe McDonagh Cup you can’t make an exception for that.

The linesman Johnny Murphy saw it and an intentional slap of a hurley is a red card these days.

That’s the kind of discipline teams coming from the Joe McDonagh need to work on when they come up against top-tier opposition. A small bit of frustration sets in and it can be a pattern for them to have guys sent to the line.

The rule book states what Dunphy did was a red card and Colm Lyons has to do his job in that situation, especially with the amount of assessment they are under these days. If he didn’t make the call he’d be in trouble too.

The joy of six

I definitely believe there should be six counties in Leinster. I’d love to see it.

The only way these teams are going to improve and cut out all these silly mistakes is to be playing the top teams on a consistent basis. I don’t know how they are going to structure it, but you’d love to see Laois and Carlow at the top table.

Westmeath aren’t far away either, but they’ll have to win their way up first. If Kerry won the Joe McDonagh Cup, then you could have six counties in Munster too.

Just let them in, and maybe give them four home games until they get up to the standard. Wouldn’t people in Tralee and Killarney love to be watching Seamus Callanan, Patrick Horgan or Aaron Gillane!

We have to manage Wexford’s purple patch

Tipp will now be looking for a full 70-minute performance against Wexford. Now, you are never going to own the ball for 70 or so minutes at this stage of the competition.

But, you’d like to dominate the majority of the game. You do that by nailing your intensity and work ethic on the day.

All four teams left will be looking to outwork their opponents in these semi-finals. That’s what Tipp will be hoping to show against Wexford because Davy Fitzgerald’s men will bring it.

Every team will have a purple patch (no pun intended) in these semis, so for Tipp it will be about managing when Wexford get theirs. You have to nullify what they put on the board.

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What do you think?