EVEN if they win next Sunday’s Clean Ireland Recycling Tipperary SFC final, Aherlow Gaels will not to compete in the AIB Munster club championship.
That honour will fall to opponents Loughmore-Castleiney instead, as Aherlow Gaels are a combination of Aherlow and Lattin-Cullen, and therefore ineligible to play in the provincial competition. While admitting that it’s a disappointment, manager Derry Peters is remaining philosophical about the situation and knows that victory next Sunday will be hard earned.
He said: “That’s the rule that’s there. What it means long term, I don’t actually know. You have to be joined at U12, 14, 16 and every level up along. But we’re not at the minute. We’re looking into it to see what the technicalities are over the next couple of years. But it’s great to be this far.”
Aherlow Gaels needed three late points from Barry Grogan, including a late, late free, to see off a spirited JK Brackens side in the recent semi-final in Cashel. And Peters knows that his side is in for another dogfight as he is a huge admirer of Loughmore’s famed resilience.
Peters smiled: “If you could bottle it sell it, you’d make a lot of money. It’s tough the way it went on them (last Sunday). You wouldn’t like to see it happening in that sense. Down to 13 and they still fought and fought. It was hard on them.
“We know Loughmore down through the years – they’re full of heart and determination. They can play football as well as hurling. We know we’re up against it. We know what to expect.”
This is Aherlow’s seventh final appearance and they have won the competition twice before, in 2006 and 2010.
And Peters, who lined out against Loughmore in the final three years ago, admitted: “Last year we were nearly gone, out of existence only for we joined up with Lattin. We just didn’t have the players and the numbers. It’s great to be back. If you’d asked me 12 months ago would we be here I’d have said no.”