BY KIERAN McCARTHY
TIPPERARY are intent on showing that last year’s championship win against Cork was not a one-off, insists Carbery Rangers’ Premier star Robbie Kiely.
In last season’s Munster SFC semi-final Tipperary beat the Rebels in this championship for the first time in 72 years and Liam Kearns’ team wants to prove this Saturday that the old order in Munster football has changed.
‘It’s a great opportunity for us,’ Kiely told The Southern Star.
‘We want to see where we are compared to last year. If we perform well that’s obviously a good sign but if we perform poorly then the pressure will be on us and people will say that last year was a flash in the pan; we don’t want that.
‘Last year’s win was big for us as a team. We had come close in Páirc Uí Chaoimh the year before but it was last year that we got over the line and beat Cork. Now we need to back it up on Saturday. That won’t be easy.
‘I don’t think you can ever be too confident against Cork, it’s a hard place to come and play. We’ve one championship win against Cork in 72 years. Last year was a great result for us and we want to back that up this year.’
Kiely, who won the Cork SFC with Carbery Rangers last season, admits he was surprised that Cork struggled to a one-point win over Waterford in the last round – but he is bracing himself for a Rebel backlash.
‘I don’t think it’s a good time at all to play Cork because those lads in that camp will be going full on to try and prove themselves, and show people that they’re better than what some might think,’ Kiely said.
‘Things aren’t going as well as they want them to be so they’ll be working hard to put that right and we need to be wary of that.
‘They’ll put a big emphasis on this game.
‘There’s a lot being said that Cork are going nowhere but you can’t really say that when you don’t know what’s going on inside the camp.
‘Certain things mightn’t be clicking right now for them but if they get a few games under their belt this summer they might get it going again.
‘As a Tipp man looking at it, I’m wary of what’s about to come because I know the calibre of player that’s in that Cork team. If three or four of them click they can play very well.’
On Cork’s struggles against Waterford, Kiely said: ‘I was and I wasn’t surprised by the result, to be honest. We thought that they might have performed a bit better and from what I’ve heard they missed a few good scoring opportunities too.
‘Last year we went down to Waterford and only scraped out of it ourselves, the Fraher Field is not an easy place to go, it can be a tough place to play football.’
Kiely, in his third season with Ross, knows Páirc Uí Rinn pretty well, too, and he’s expecting the home crowd to support their under-fire Rebels this Saturday.
‘We’re going away from home, Cork will have more support, there’ll be a big crowd there and it’s a nice pitch. I’ve played there a few times over the last few years and you can hear the difference in crowd levels in a smaller stadium.’