Tuesday 22 May 2018

Kearns warns Tipp to keep minds on Déise

Liam Kearns: One game at a time. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Liam Kearns: One game at a time. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The possibilities are exciting but the threats lurking around them remain very much on Liam Kearns' radar as he plots Tipperary's course into the Munster football championship.

If they beat Waterford in Semple Stadium on Saturday evening, they will also have home advantage in the semi-final against Cork.

A win there would set them up for the final which, if it were against Kerry, would also be in Thurles.

It's the ideal scenario as Tipperary pursue a first Munster title success since 1935, but Kearns is quick to warn that the first fence has to be jumped before other targets are set.

Waterford's close call against Cork (they lost by a point) last year serves as a reminder to Tipperary that previous results or differences in league placings aren't always replicated in the championship.

"I was in Fraher Field last year and there's no doubt that Cork were lucky to win.

"Waterford played brilliantly and that's the approach they will bring again on Saturday.

"It's very simple in the championship - if you aren't 100pc right, you lose.

"Every team likes to have home advantage but it won't win a game for you unless everything else is in place too," said Kearns.

If Tipperary win, they will be back in action a week later against Cork, scheduling which has infuriated Kearns.

It would leave Tipperary as the only county football side facing two provincial games in a week.

Kearns voiced his objections about that prospect a few weeks ago and also boycotted the launch of the Munster championship in protest, but he is reluctant to return to the subject - for now at least.

"All the focus is on Waterford. There will be no semi-final for us unless we beat them," he said.

"Their performance against Cork last year will give them real confidence coming to Thurles. We need to be ready for it - make no mistake about that."

Tipperary last lost to Waterford in the championship in 1988 and have beaten them eight times since.

Waterford haven't won a Munster championship tie since 2010, so all the advantages appear to rest with the Premier crew.

However, club activity restricted their training schedule in April, although that's counter-balanced by a similar situation is Waterford.

"Our preparations haven't been as smooth as we would have liked but that wasn't down to us.

"We only had one challenge game because of the ban on weekend games.

"Still, I'm very happy with the way the lads have applied themselves. They have done all I've asked of them," said Kearns.

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