Tipperary manager Liam Kearns believes that his side’s ability to handle the pressure cooker environment of a Munster SFC final will play a major part in their quest to shock Kerry in Killarney on Sunday.

The pedigree of the finalists couldn’t be more different, with the Kingdom bidding for a 78th provincial title while Tipperary last won the Munster crown in 1935.  

It’s already been a season to remember for Kearns’ men, with their shock 3-15 to 2-16 victory over Cork in the semi-finals a first for the county over the Rebels in 72 years.

That win was all the more remarkable given a spate of withdrawals from the panel.

A number of players who had featured prominently in 2015 committed to the Premier County’s hurling panel, while Colin O’Riordan opted to make the move to the Sydney Swans in the AFL last year.

Kearns suffered another blow when Liam Casey, Jason Lonergan and Kevin Fahey, who won the Munster Under-21 title with Tipperary last season, decided to spend their summer in the United States.   

“We lost so many players and we had so many problems through the year,” Kearns admitted.  

"If we handle the occasion and play our game, then we hope to give Kerry plenty to think about”

“You would have thought that it might be a step too far for us to take out one of the big guns in Munster.

“But, in fairness to our players, they produced a fantastic performance against Cork and we’re in a Munster final.”

Looking ahead to the Fitzgerald Stadium encounter, the Tralee man said: “Kerry are favourites and there is nobody going to deny that. They’re overwhelming favourites.

“My message to my players is we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves, we’ve got to back ourselves, we’ve got to bring the game to Kerry, and we’ve got to find out are there are any weaknesses in the Kerry team?

“That’s the same as any other game - you’ve got to believe in yourself.

“Theres no doubt that Kerry will try to intimidate us or to take advantage of the fact that they are used to this situation and the occasion, and my players must play the game and not let the occasion affect them.

“When you’re talking about a team who are used to playing Munster finals on a regular basis, playing a team that never played in a Munster final, there’s also that concern that the occasion will take over and if the occasion takes over then we have no hope of putting it up to Kerry.

“But if we handle the occasion and play our game, then we hope to give Kerry plenty to think about.”

Watch Kerry v Tipperary on the The Sunday Game Live on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player from 1.40pm (throw-in 2pm). Highlights of all the weekend's GAA action on The Sunday Game on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player from 9.30pm.