Monday 20 November 2017

Expensive August awaits Tipp fans - as they reach 'dreamland' semi-final

Tipperary’s Conor Sweeney kisses his girlfriend Shauna Hill after the victory. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Tipperary’s Conor Sweeney kisses his girlfriend Shauna Hill after the victory. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Ryan Nugent

It's going to be an expensive August for Tipperary fans - but that's not a bad complaint to have. The Premier County's footballers joined their hurling counterparts to make up one quarter of this year's All-Ireland semi-finalists.

History was made at Croke Park as a wave of 15 blue men trampled over a sorry and disappointing Galway - if only there had been more fans there to witness it.

Tipperary fans Graham Houlihan, Timmy Spelman and Chris Doughan celebrate outside Croke Park. Pic:Mark Condren
Tipperary fans Graham Houlihan, Timmy Spelman and Chris Doughan celebrate outside Croke Park. Pic:Mark Condren

Less than 30,000 supporters turned up at GAA headquarters for what was a double-header quarter-final.

One imagines that there will be more fans in blue and yellow jerseys arriving at Heuston Station in three weeks' time for what will be the Tipp footballers' first semi-final outing since 1935.

You'll need more than your fingers and toes to tot up how long ago that was; an amazing 81 years.

In fact, a calculator might be necessary for those looking to work out the score in Sunday's game.

Siobhain Garvey and Aisling Garvey pictured after Kerry defeat Clare in the All-Ireland football quarter finals in Croke park. Pic:Mark Condren
Siobhain Garvey and Aisling Garvey pictured after Kerry defeat Clare in the All-Ireland football quarter finals in Croke park. Pic:Mark Condren

It's fair to say that it was a trouncing. Tipperary won by 3-13 to 1-10.

Read more: Shane Long leads the joyous reaction as Tipp romp to first All-Ireland semi in 81 years

Read more: 'It is rare to see a team that has chemistry like that' - Joe Brolly lauds Tipperary heroes

And the victory was especially sweet for the die-hards, those who have travelled a long way from Tipperary to watch their football team in action, through thick and through thin - most of the time leaving disappointed.

Allie and Andrew Lacy with their children Evan (12), Cillian (8) and Andrew (2). Pic:Mark Condren
Allie and Andrew Lacy with their children Evan (12), Cillian (8) and Andrew (2). Pic:Mark Condren

Andrew Lacey from Tipperary Town - who was there with his wife, Allie and sons Evan (12), Cillian (8) and Andrew Jnr (2) - is one of those.

His brother Brian, a former player, is on the coaching panel for the past two seasons.

"It's an historic day for us, a lot of fellas here that have travelled up for the hurling point of view," Andrew said.

"But from the football side of things, it's a small bunch of followers that would always go.

"You could see at the end what it meant to them.

Former Galway player Alan Kerins with his wife Ciara and son Ruadhan. Pic:Mark Condren
Former Galway player Alan Kerins with his wife Ciara and son Ruadhan. Pic:Mark Condren

"They were all hanging around after, a lot of them know the lads personally.

"This is dreamland stuff for all of us - we're enjoying it while we can, big time," he added.

After thrashing Galway who are more regularly seen as a county that excels in both GAA codes, Tomás Matthews thinks his home county can now stake a claim. "We're a duel county now," he said. "We'll celebrate this one a bit, but we'll have to save a few pound for an expensive month."

There's an air of swagger about the Premier these days.

"We've a few to go yet, we've two semi-finals and two finals to come," Tomás explained.

If it might have been forgotten, there was another match in Croker yesterday, with Kerry showing they have bigger fish to fry in their victory over Clare.

The Kingdom, clearly hurting from their All-Ireland Final defeat to Dublin last year are insisting they're out for revenge

Claire Moran from Scartaglin said it was all about doing a job. "It's been a while since we last won," she said.

Kerry last won the All-Ireland title in 2014 - less than two years.

"Ah but in Kerry that's a long time," she explained.

One expects that if Dublin beat Donegal next weekend, Kerry will be next, waiting in the long grass.

Read more: History-makers Tipperary annihilate Galway to reach first All-Ireland semi since 1935

Irish Independent

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