Tipperary may have lost the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final almost a fortnight ago but an amount of blue and gold bunting is still being displayed in support of the Minor Footballers, the county’s last remaining hope of winning an All-Ireland title this year, who take on Dublin in Sunday’s final at Croke Park.
The team has already enjoyed a memorable year, winning five matches and being crowned Munster champions.
Now manager David Power is looking for one last push on Sunday. “We need that extra 5% from everybody to have a good chance and hopefully we can get that out of the lads,” he says.
They’re 11/4 outsiders against a Dublin side that’s 11/4-on but they’ve been the underdogs in most of their matches this year and have still managed to take the scalps of teams from such well-known footballing strongholds as Kerry, Cork, Meath and Roscommon.
A journey that started in the humble surrounds of Fitzgerald Park, Kilmallock on April 13, when they beat Limerick in the Munster quarter-final, has now reached the biggest stage of all, as the Premier County goes in search of a rare All-Ireland football success.
They lost to Dublin in the 1984 and 1955 Minor Finals and were beaten by Mayo in the 1935 decider. Their one and only All-Ireland Minor football title was won in 1934, when they were awarded the title after semi-finalists Dublin and Tyrone were disqualified for “illegalities”, believed to be fielding overage players.
That All-Ireland wasn’t won on the field of play so 77 years later the current generation has a great chance to put the record straight.
Dublin are chasing a first Minor All-Ireland since they beat Tipp in the 1984 final and their 11th All-Ireland U-18 crown. They’ll have the advantage of strong home support ahead of the Senior Final against Kerry, although that level of expectation will bring its own pressures too.
The Tipp management has a full-strength panel to choose from and the team will be announced on Thursday night.
The match starts at 1.15 and the referee is Armagh’s Padraig Hughes.
For those not making the journey to Dublin the final will be shown live on TV3 and 3e.