Stapleton: 'If they hurl like last week, they'll get beaten'
Two-time All-Ireland senior medallist Paddy Stapleton has warned that a repeat of last Saturday's performance against Westmeath will see Tipperary dumped out of the championship by Dublin this evening.
Michael Ryan's champions produced a sloppy, lifeless display to book a spot in Round 2 of the qualifiers and Stapleton is wary of the Dublin threat.
The Borris-Ileigh clubman, who retired from inter-county fare after last year's successful campaign, is concerned by Tipp's form in recent times.
A 16-point mauling against Galway in the Allianz League final was followed up by a Munster Championship exit against Cork, and last weekend's stuttering outing.
And Stapleton said: "If they hurl like they did last week, they'll get beaten, no two ways about it, or if they hurl like they did in the last three games.
"There were good spells in the Cork game but Dublin are unknown and have a couple of games under their belt.
"They were poorish against Galway but did cause them hassle, and if they caused Galway hassle, they can cause us hassle."
Stapleton (31) won All-Ireland medals in 2010 and 2016, and says that the current players searching for a spark to ignite their season.
He explained: "You can turn it around but you have to get some sort of bite going.
"It wasn't there last week but was for bits of the Cork game, and Cork are a good team, as we know now.
"But it wasn't there at all in the Galway match for and for the latter end of the league.
"They need something to ignite a fuse in the team. That might take one play, one block-down, a massive score, a catch from the sky.
"That happened to us in 2014 when we played Galway in Thurles, and found ourselves six points down with 20 minutes to go, but Seamie (Callanan) got us out of jail.
"And it happened in the Galway quarter-final in 2010 but only for Pa Bourke coming on and Lar (Corbett) getting that late score, who knows what way that might have went?
"What they should do is look at a DVD of five minutes from last year's games and compare them to this year, when they had that manic aggression getting onto the ball and breaks."
Stapleton also says that he feels little sympathy for Dublin, who have been asked to travel to Thurles this evening.
He insists that Semple Stadium was the logical choice to host a double-header.
He said: "If it was two separate fixtures and it was just Tipp against Dublin, I'd say fair enough.
"The only reason I say it is that they've had their own way in football and it would be the same if it was a big enough match for the hurlers and there was money to be made.
"Any double-header outside of Croke Park should be in Semple Stadium, from a geographical point of view, access to the town, the pitch itself, and the stadium and what it can hold.
"Everyone should want to play there and it's the best place to play it.
"There will be four sets of fans there - it's not as if it's just a partisan Tipp crowd and nobody from Dublin."
And Stapleton doesn't necessarily believe that Dublin's perceived sense of injustice will fuel further motivation.
He added: "I'd say they're motivated anyway - their backs are against the wall with a whole new team.
"They should be saying, 'Look, we know Tipp were poor against Westmeath so let's go down and make them nervous in front of their own crowd'."