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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019
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'There's a lot of demons in that group that have been exorcised after that'

Forward Michael Quinlivan savoured Tipperary’s triumph today.

MICHAEL QUINLIVAN HAS experienced glory previously against Cork on the Munster Gaelic football stage.

Michael Quinlivan and Kevin O'Halloran celebrate Michael Quinlivan celebrates Tipperary's win with teammate Kevin O'Halloran. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

He won a Munster minor medal in 2011, slotting home a penalty in the decider against Cork in Killarney.

Last November he cracked home the match-winning strike with Clonmel Commercials that knocked out Cork powerhouse Nemo Rangers in a club final.

He’s watched Tipperary U21 sides take down Cork in Munster showpieces.

Seven points up in today’s senior semi-final in Thurles – and after netting himself in the first-half – Quinlivan knew it was time to make that senior breakthrough with Tipperary.

They endured a nervy path to success in the second-half but Tipperary got there at the end and halted a 72-year losing streak in the process.

“At half-time it was said, we’ve won things at club, at underage, U21′s, minors,” outlined Quinlivan.

“But this trumps it all. It’s a stepping stone to winning at senior. We finally crossed that bridge today.

“There’s a lot of demons in that group that have been exorcised after that I think.”

The success atoned for 2014 in particular. Tipperary had a Munster final place in their sights two summers ago but Aidan Walsh stepped in to swipe it from their grasp with a few memorable points.

But despite the shattering nature of that defeat, it was instructive.

“I think with 15 minutes to go two years ago, we didn’t really believe we could do it,” admitted Quinlivan.

“We were kind of waiting for Cork to come and kick like they did there this year. Except I think we were ready for it this time around.

“I think that showed, especially the experience of two years ago really did stand to us today.

“You think when you go nine points ahead with ten minutes to go, that’s it. Cork in fairness are a top side and they come roaring back into it and then you have to go and win it again.

“Even when he (Paul Kerrigan) got the kick (to level it), it was all about just win the kickout, win the kickout, see if we can get down the field.

“In fairness to Hally (Kevin O’Halloran), he kicked two unbelievable scores. Nerveless. He was absolutely super.

“Peter (Acheson) won the break, I thought he was absolutely out of this world today, covered every blade of grass, kicked unbelievable scores.”

Quinlivan celebrated with his teammates at the final whistle but still saluted recent managers and teammates who contributed plenty to Tipperary’s football rise.

“This is as much for them. I saw Peter Creedon after the game, I went straight over to him.

“Those are the lads that built the platform that we were able to drive on off. They deserve as much credit as the lads on the field.

Liam Kearns celebrates Liam Kearns celebrates after the match. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I’m sure Mully (Brian Mulvihill) was listening in (from South America), that’ll show you how interested and how much he wants Tipperary to do well. I’m sure he’ll be a very happy man today.”

Tipperary’s victory was all the more impressive given how they have coped with a huge turnover of players in the past twelve months.

“The two lads that went hurling, Seamus (Kennedy) played the last day, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to go play hurling for Tipp. It’s a big honour.

“Obviously then Colin (O’Riordan) is making a name for himself in Australia. We’ve lost another couple. It is a big commitment to go playing inter-county football but we stuck to our guns.

“There’s been a lot of lads that have wrote us off this year due to the amount of players that were missing but they forget the lads that are still in this group and are still driving it. It means a lot to everyone involved.”

Now for the first time in 14 years, Tipperary will contest a Munster senior football final. It’s a major step forward in their current group’s development but they are keen not to just participate on 3 July in Killarney.

“It’s a great three weeks now to look forward to,” admits Quinlivan.

“I’m sure we’ll relish every part of it but we won’t be going down to Killarney to just make up the numbers.

“It’ll be a huge honour to be playing in a Munster final but you can’t be going down there and not expecting not to win. That’s the way this group is built.”

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Tipp’s breakthrough, Kerry back to winning ways, Cork hit another low

Tipperary stun Cork to book place in Munster senior football final

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Fintan O'Toole

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