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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

Paddy Stapleton: Tipp aiming to shut out Rebels in Croker showdown

The Premier County had been conceding goals for fun up until their impressive 2-23 to 0-16 win over Dublin.

Paddy Stapleton: preparing for another meeting with the Rebels.
Paddy Stapleton: preparing for another meeting with the Rebels.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

TIPPERARY DEFENDER Paddy Stapleton is hopeful they have “stopped the rot” of conceding goals just in time for Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Cork.

The Premier County kept only their third clean sheet of 2014 in their quarter-final win over Dublin in a campaign where leaking three-pointers was fast becoming their Achilles heel.

Tipp shipped 26 goals in just 10 games this year before they managed to shut-out the Dubs in an impressive victory. Stapleton is optimistic that marks the end of the defensive mistakes as they prepare to take on Jimmy-Barry Murphy’s side for a place in the All-Ireland final.

“[Not conceding a goal] was a big thing. There is no point in saying when you have been conceding a few goals that it is nice when you do shut up shop, it gives you confidence and the positivity that you can do it.

“It was as a unit, there was no stand-out performance, especially from the full back line, no one went to town, coming out with balls. It was down to communication and lads trusting each other, really wanting to keep that clean sheet, no matter what the score was.

“That’s our job every day and we have to be a little bit more consistent.”

Conal Keaney and Colm Cronin with Padraic Maher and Paddy Stapleton Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Tipp’s defence was breached on a couple of occasions during their Munster semi-final loss to Limerick, the second goal being a particular sore point with Stapleton.

“If you didn’t talk about something like that after a game, any goal like that, bar a fantastic goal that no one can stop, you have to talk about it and say where can be improve there. Three lads going for one ball, if a junior team did it you would be very disappointed.

“Maybe it was a sign that lads were a little too anxious, too keen to do well and sometimes you have to the person who steps back and mind the house but on that day we didn’t and hopefully we’ll learn from that.”

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On a positive note, Stapleton believes three wins on the trot have sparked confidence back into the camp and they are beginning to see the difference on the field.

“Any team that has won a couple of games on the bounce is going to be feeling good about themselves.

“There have been a couple of good performances here and there but we realise at the same time we are not naive enough to think what has gone before will do in an All Ireland semi-final because it won’t.

Cathal Barrett 1/6/2014 Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

He praised the positive contributions of James Barry and Chris Barrett, adding they have nothing to fear on their Croke Park debuts.

“[James] went in there against Cork in the league and was excellent. A lot of the skill set is leant to it in that he is strong, good in the air, can stop a man as well and has a good brain.

“Cathal is a very exciting player. He has massive pace, a great touch, a lovely hurler really. The only thing I would say is to go out and look around the stadium, say grand, right, that’s the stadium and then go back in and come back out and see the green field.”

“I’d be confident enough that they will be fine.”

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