Tipperary footballers will face Clare at Semple Stadium on Saturday afternoon next in the National Football League Division 3 in what team selector, Michael O’Loughlin, describes as a “must win” game for promotion.
Following defeats in two of their three games since the commencement of the league, Tipperary cannot afford to drop any further points.
According to O’Loughlin “this is most definitely a must win game on Saturday. If we don’t win we will be dragged in to a relegation dogfight, but if we can win it it will put us right back in with a chance of promotion.”
“We were very disappointed with Sunday in Fermanagh. We started well, went four points to one up and could have been six or seven to the good but we missed chances. They then got a goal and were right back in it,” he added.
“Conditions in Brewster Park were very heavy on the pitch. It was one of the heaviest grounds we played on in a long time. A lot of our players struggled on it, particularly towards the end. But we will be hoping for a bounce again back at Semple on Saturday. It will be another big challenge and we will be up for it.”
O’Loughlin is fully aware of the magnitude of the Clare challenge coming to Thurles on Saturday afternoon.
“Clare are a very good side with some very good players and have top class forwards in Shane McGrath and Pat Burke who contributed 10 points out of the side’s 22 points total on Sunday against Sligo. It was the largest tally of points by any team in the four divisions of the league on Sunday last,” added O’Loughlin.
Clare have recorded two wins out of three, beating Wexford on the opening day before losing to Louth.
“We know Clare well from last year when we played them twice in Division 4, beating them in Thurles and then in Croke Park in the final by a point. Both were great games and we expect another almighty challenge from Clare on Saturday,” added the Clonmel based school principal.
“We have a few injury concerns and we will have to take a look at a few of them this week. Brian Fox missed yesterday with a groin, while Philip Austin came off with a knock to knee, and so did Steven O’Brien with a calf muscle strain; the exertions of the Sigerson final the previous week took their toll. We are hoping to have them all back to face Clare,” concluded the Tipp selector.
After the game with Clare, Tipp’s remaining fixtures are away to Louth on Sunday, 15th March; home to Sligo on Sunday, 29th March; home to Wexford on Sunday, 5th April.