Creedon hails Tipp 'patience' after weathering Laois storm
Tipperary 3-17 Laois 4-9 - ALL-IRELAND SFC QUALIFIER
For a while, you wondered if Tipperary were going to blow another promising situation, but in the end they had enough guts to go with their quality to see it through.
Even vanquished manager Tomas O Flatharta admitted that the better team had won, but when Laois got it back level in the 62nd minute, having trailed by 10 points (2-10 to 1-3) at half-time, you weren't feeling confident about the visitors.
Visions of blowing it against Cork must have crossed the Tipp players' minds but if they did, they served only to galvanise the Premier footballers.
"There was a lot of hurt after the Cork game and we showed that bit of patience, a bit of composure (today)," said Tipp boss Peter Creedon.
"No doubt the experience would have helped alright, but maybe the right people got on the ball at the right time as well and that helps."
Up front, Tipp have plenty of right people in the likes of Michael Quinlivan, Philip Austin, Brian Fox, Conor Sweeney and Barry Grogan. Sweeney had two goals in the first half, with his opener in the third minute a real peach.
Laois led by two afterwards, following John O'Loughlin's goal, but failed to score again in the first half after Billy Sheehan's 12th-minute point.
Instead, Tipperary went on a scoring spree yielding a goal and nine points, with Quinlivan and George Hannigan causing mayhem.
"It looked nearly gone at half-time but the lads showed a lot of courage in the second half," said O Flatharta.
"We started very flat and they really exposed us in the first half and they should have been out the gate at half-time, they had so many opportunities. If they had taken them all we could have been buried at half-time."
Goals from Niall Donoher and Conor Meredith breathed life back into Laois inside the opening seven minutes of the second half, and Paul Fitzgerald had to make a smart save from Colm Begley in a one-on-one position in that time as well.
Tipperary seemed to steady the ship with points from the excellent Austin, Grogan and Peter Acheson but three converted placed balls – including a monstrous effort by Donie Kingston – renewed Laois' hope.
Sub David Conway fired up the home support with a 58th-minute goal and points from Evan Costello and Conway brought the sides level four minutes later.
Padraig McMahon received a black card for a high challenge on Sweeney with just over five minutes left and Grogan put Tipp back in front. Sweeney made it two three minutes later but crucially, Meredith's black card meant Laois were down to 14 men, having used six subs.
That left them short at the back as they pushed forward and Grogan was able to take a pass from Acheson to almost walk the ball into the Laois net in the 69th minute to confirm Tipperary's place in the last 12.
SCORERS – Tipperary: C Sweeney 2-2 (f), B Grogan 1-3 (f), P Austin 0-4, M Quinlivan 0-3, C O'Riordan, B Fox 0-2 each, P Acheson 0-1. Laois: D Kingston 0-4 (3fs), N Donoher, D Conway 1-1 each, J O'Loughlin, C Meredith 1-0 each, B Sheehan, E Costello, MJ Tierney (1 '45') 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY – P Fitzgerald 6; G Mulhair 6, P Codd 6, C McDonald 7; C O'Riordan 7, R Kiely 7, P Acheson 7; S O'Brien 7, G Hannigan 8; M Quinlivan 8, J Coghlan 6, B Fox 7; B Grogan 7, P Austin 8, C Sweeney 8. Subs: I Fahey 6 for Mulhair (48), C Kennedy for Austin (70), B Mulvihill for Grogan (70+2)
LAOIS – G Brody 6; P McMahon 6, P Begley 6, P O'Leary 7; D Strong 6, R Kehoe 6, C Begley 6; K Meaney 5, J O'Loughlin 6; C Meredith 7, B Sheehan 6; N Donoher 7, R Munnelly 5, D Kingston 8, D O'Connor 5. Subs: J Finn 7 for Munnelly inj (29), S Attride 6 for Meaney (h-t), D Conway 7 for O'Connor (h-t), MJ Tierney 6 for Kehoe (BC, 44), E Costello 6 for C Begley inj (52), Meaney for McMahon (BC, 66)
REF – D Gough (Meath)