Thursday 27 April 2017

Kearns warns Tipp to expect backlash from 'dangerous' Faithful

Tipperary manager Liam Kearns. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Tipperary manager Liam Kearns. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Tipperary football manager Liam Kearns has warned his promotion chasers to expect a backlash from Offaly in what he's described as a "dangerous" fixture for the Premier County on Sunday.

Tipp are chasing a fourth victory of the campaign and the race for Allianz Division 2 football next year intensifies on a pivotal day.

Tipp travel to Offaly, as fellow promotion hopefuls Louth and Armagh lock horns, with Sligo travelling to Longford in key Division 3 fixtures.

Offaly are coming off the back of a 30-point walloping against Armagh, and Kearns says he has been surprised by the level of criticism levelled at Faithful County manager Pat Flanagan in the wake of that defeat.

And Kearns said: "It's a very dangerous game. Tipp went to play them for promotion a few years ago (2013) and Offaly beat them out the gate in Tullamore.

"Tipp have a poor record against Offaly, particularly in Tullamore, and while we managed to beat them in Tipperary town last year, our record is generally not good.

Kearns added: "I think there's too much praise when teams win and too much criticism when they lose.

"Pat Flanagan's overall record would suggest he's doing a reasonable job.

"They haven't been hammered by that much by anybody and last year, they almost got promoted from Division 3.

"That Armagh game was a freak result and I was surprised to see there were some questions of a move against him in the middle of the season, but that's the nature of it."

Former dual All-Ireland minor winner Bill Maher is in line for his first League action of the season after recovering from a hamstring problem, while returning pair George Hannigan and Shane O'Connell saw valuable game-time in the Longford victory last Saturday.

But former International Rules player Ciarán McDonald, Ian Fahey and Diarmuid Foley are unlikely to feature for the remainder of Tipperary's League campaign.

Irish Independent

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