Premier boss Power backs youngsters to defy the odds against Dubs
TIPPERARY minor football manager David Power has been in bullish mood throughout this campaign and even with his side priced at 10/3 for Sunday's decider with Dublin, he continues to talk up the merits of his side.
"Dublin are favourites and until the semi-final with Galway they have been fairly comfortable in their matches," Power said. "But at the same time, we know that if we play to our potential we can win."
It's a familiar refrain from Power, who blasted GAA authorities for banning his side from a run-out on Croke Park before their All-Ireland semi-final clash with Roscommon, while he has also put on record his belief that the county can realistically aim for a senior All-Ireland title by 2020.
It has been far from idle talk, though. Power's team have followed his defiant line and have revelled in their role as the cuckoo in the nest in the minor grade this year. Tradition was turned on its head when Cork and Kerry were dismissed in Munster, with the semi-final win over the Kingdom particularly eye-catching.
Tipp found themselves 11 points down at one stage, but they recovered and kicked the winner in injury-time to give their manager the perfect birthday present.
Meath in the last eight and Roscommon in the semi-finals were next to fall. Against the Rossies, Tipp showed further evidence of their character when they played the last 10 minutes with 14 men after Ian Fahey was dismissed.
"The manner of that win was very pleasing," Power said. "We had one midfielder sent off and the other one had a shoulder injury, but we had to leave him on. Our centre- back Dylan Fitzelle had tonsillitis before that game and our centre- forward was gone at that stage too."
And while Dublin's juggling act with their dual stars has been well documented, Power coped with a similar problem until just before their Munster final. At that stage, six of his squad were playing both codes, so he can sympathise with his Dublin counterpart Dessie Farrell, who has four of his squad recovering from their defeat in the minor hurling final two weeks ago. "It's a challenge. You're constantly talking to them, trying to make sure they feel fresh," he said.
There's an obvious line of form to follow. Both teams have beaten Cork and Meath in the championship this year. Tipp also played Galway in an early season challenge, something Power identified as a game where Tipp underlined their potential.
Recent history shows us that a Munster team haven't won the Tom Markham Cup since Cork in 2000, meaning the signs aren't good for Tipp. But then they've been defying expectations all summer and they have no intention of stopping now.