Tipperary football manager, Peter Creedon’s body language said it all as he trooped off Semple Stadium on Sunday with his players after their disappointing loss to fourteen man Carlow in the opening game in division four of the Allianz National football League.
Tipperary’s under-age achievements in recent years has raised expectations and led to firm conviction that the county’s football fortunes are on the rise.
Top of the agenda is securing promotion from the lowest echelons of the football league.
A defeat at home in the first outing in the competition was very definitely not in the plan.
Courteous as ever in his response to the media invitation to give his reaction to the outcome, the Tipp town school principal’s demeanour reflected his dismay as he frankly acknowledged that the defeat was a big setback to the promotion campaign, although not to the overall development of his squad.
“In the league, you need to win your home games if you are to make progress. In that regard this was a big setback but you have to give Carlow great credit as they played very well”, he said.
The Corkman pointed to the goal that Carlow scored on the brink of half-time as being the crucial score of the game.
Up to that they were trailing a confident Tipperary by six points, but that goal, followed immediately by a point, changed the whole complexion of the game, leaving Tipp just two points ahead at the break with the elements to be faced on the change-over.
Peter Creedon was disappointed but not despondent.
“I have a feeling that there will be a lot of wins and losses in this division before promotion is finally decided. Our game with Waterford next Saturday in Waterford is crucial now but that is the way it is in sport”, he added.
Carlow played the last seventeen minutes with only fourteen men after Kieran Nolan was sidelined with a second yellow card. They were a point behind Tipperary but had scored two points in quick succession and looked to be getting up a head of steam.
Dismissals can work in peculiar ways, either motivating or disheartening the side punished. Carlow showed no ill-effects and Peter Creedon did not see the sending off as a boost to Tipperary, although his men extended their lead from the free which resulted from the sending-off.
“Carlow had the momentum at that stage”, he said, as reflected in their scoring the next three points. “We have lost a game we might have won. Our senior players will have to step up to the plate in training this week and on Saturday in Waterford” he concluded.
This week-end is a big one for Tipperary football.
A win, a big ask in Waterford, will get the Premier boys back on track. A second defeat would almost certainly end their prospects of promotion, all in the space of seven days.