TIPPERARY manager Charlie McGeever is confident that his players can rekindle their hopes of claiming silverware this year when they tackle Ulster champions Monaghan in next Monday’s Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor football quarter-final.
Tipperary must travel to Pearse Park in Longford (3.00) to take on the Farney men, surprise winners over Tyrone in the Ulster minor final. But McGeever has no quibbles with the venue.
Monaghan’s seniors are in action against Tyrone at Croke Park on Saturday but the first game on the triple-bill at GAA HQ sees Tyrone’s minors up against Kerry.
But McGeever explained:
“In fairness, I think it’s a better bet. I know it’s a bit further to travel but a three o’clock throw-in is decent and we have plenty of time to get there.
“I’m happy enough. You have to earn the right to go to Croke Park and the semi-finals are in Croke Park.
You’ve got to win your quarter-final and maybe for some of our boys it might be the best bet to keep it low key.
If you’re going the other way around, it’s an early start and the Monaghan crowd are already there for the senior match.
Longford is a decent venue.”
McGeever is monitoring the fitness of Niall McKenna and Josh Keane ahead of the trip to the midlands.
Both players are expected to shrug off knocks and forward Michael Meagher has recovered from a hamstring injury that saw him miss Tipp’s Munster semi-final and final.
McGeever is anticipating a big performance from his team but admits that Tipp could do with more scores on the board.
In three Munster championship outings, the Premier boys totalled 1-31, with the goal scored against Clare back in April.
But Tipp haven’t been conceding much either, with 0-8 coughed up both Clare and Cork, before Kerry registered 0-15 in the Munster final.
“The reality is that looking at the matches that Monaghan have played so far, they’re a goal-scoring team.
“They’ve scored ten goals in three matches. That’s quite significant.
“They’ve conceded six, which means that they’re open to the concession of goals.
We’ll be looking for a green flag and the other side of the coin is that we haven’t conceded any goals and we’ll be looking to continue that.
“Monaghan have been involved in three very high-scoring matches whereas we’ve been involved in three very low-scoring matches.
little between Munster Ulster and ConnacHT
It’s in our own hands – there was very little between the Munster, Ulster and Connacht teams.
The only place where there has been a significant victory was Kildare, who won the Leinster final with a bit to spare.
“I do have a feeling that of the teams we played, Kildare have been the strongest.
“They’re in the driving seat but they have a very tough encounter against Roscommon. It’s up for grabs.
“There doesn’t seem to be a Tipp of two years ago or Dublin last year in the minor grade, where there’s a significantly strong side that’s outstanding. We’re looking to improve a bit –we’re looking to become more a threat in front of goal and that’s the main issue.”
Tipp have played Kildare in two challenge games this year and there’s a connection between both camps with Brian Lacey, formerly of Arravale Rovers, involved with the Lilywhites.
But McGeever added: “We can only look at Monaghan and see where we go from there.
“They were in an Ulster final last year and an All-Ireland quarter-final last year, like ourselves.
“They are a forward team – a triangle up top at 11, 13 and 14.”
McGeever pinpointed centre forward Ryan McAnespie and inside men Conor McCarthy and Feargal McMahon as Monaghan’s big threats.
McMahon scored 2-6 in Monaghan’s Ulster final victory over Tyrone, which saw the Farney boys clinch provincial glory in the grade for the first time since 1945.
McMahon also scored 2-6 in an earlier round against Antrim.
“And a lot of the frees that he (McMahon) scored were of his own making the last day.
“He turned the screw and is an exceptional footballer but we hope to be able to nullify that.”
“We started the championship knowing that there were six matches that we could play in the competition – three in Munster and three in the All-Ireland series.
“To be able to play four of those, minimum, is good going.
“We’re hoping to increase that if we can at all.
“These guys deserve something out of the year.”