This weekend the Championship was due to begin in earnest with 11 provincial matches scheduled to take place.

RTÉ Sport is examining some of these matches and their would-be participants in greater detail.

First up, Declan Whooley chats to Tipperary football manager David Power, who should be preparing for his first Munster SFC game against Clare on Saturday evening.


When David Power was chosen as Liam Kearns' successor in the Tipperary football hotseat last September, the second weekend in May was the focal point. 

The league was a concern – ensuring the Premier County didn’t suffer a second successive relegation and perhaps make inroads in a highly competitive Division 3 – but it was a Munster quarter-final date with Clare that would be the first significant marker. 

The Banner men should be making the journey to the home of hurling on Saturday evening, and with it the notional advantage of playing a side a division below them. 

With Cork and Kerry on the same side of the draw, it wasn’t lost on Power that 2020 offered plenty of optimism for those looking to cause a potential upset against the traditional Munster powerhouses.

"I was really looking forward to Munster Championship and Clare and Tipp would fancy each other against each other, and it’s a huge opportunity to reach a Munster final," he told RTÉ Sport. 

The 37-year-old, who spent two seasons in charge of Wexford before moving on in 2016, admits that his first year at the helm has been a challenge. First the poor weather hampered early season preparations before Covid-19 swept all before it.

Now it’s the waiting game and a fixture against Clare will be at least a couple of months away in a best case scenario. 

Despite their familiarity from league football, the pairing of the two counties is somewhat of a novelty.

You have to go back to 2002 when the sides last locked horns in championship fare, with the Premier winning out the second day before taking Cork to a replay in the provincial decider. 

Since Clare’s historic Munster title 28 years ago, they have only lowered Tipp colours once since, a 0-15 to 0-10 victory in 2000 in a game perhaps best remembered for Martin Daly’s cheeky back-heeled point. 

Power’s aim for year one in Tipp was consolidating their status in the third tier and a "decent" run in the championship. 

The former was a work in progress before the enforced lay-off, with just one win in five outings.

Cork were let off the hook in Thurles and a red card away to Derry did for their chances.

Fine margins, but they are looking up the table rather than down. 

"It’s been a frustrating league," said Power. "We had been trying to get the balance right. The big thing for me against Cork was we proved that we can be at the upper end of the league." 

The new year brought about changes in personnel and Power is still operating with his league panel as players continue their own programmes. 

He was welcomed in some of his 2011 minor All-Ireland winners who haven't since made the step up to senior level. 

Colman Kennedy, who scored the winning goal in that final, and Greg Henry (pictured below) both spent time in America on soccer scholarships and played League of Ireland football, are also part of the mix. 

Kennedy returned last summer and was a key figure in Clonmel Commercial’s victorious county campaign, but cried off against Cork after going over his ankle. Henry was only coming back into the frame after some niggly setbacks. 

"They were moving in the right direction, but they need more football. Fitness isn’t an issue, it’s just getting football into them. 

"Other lads were coming back from injury and that’s where it was frustrating as it felt like we were going in the right direction." 

One player currently not involved is ace forward Michael Quinlivan.

The 2016 All Star said he was taking a year out of football to go travelling for the year, but the global pandemic has put paid to that. Power admits he may or may not feature later in the year if sport gets the green light. 

"He's home and I have spoken to him. I can’t say much to him because no one knows when, or where we will be playing again." 

A newborn baby is keeping Power more than busy at home, but admits he is itching to return to the team environment.

The players are maintaining their fitness and there is a weekly get together on Zoom, but it’s far removed from what he considered managerial normality. 

It would be great to get that kind of buzz back again

What keeps him going is the prospect of the return of the championship. As he knows well from past experience, a few wins and suddenly football in the county becomes part of the conversation. 

"If you can get a couple of wins and momentum, okay you’d be up against Cork and Kerry and you’d be up against it, but it would be great for the county.

"Hurling is number one, we know that, but if we were able to get to a Munster final, kids would see that and it would just promote the whole game in the county. 

"I remember when we won the 2011 minor title, for the next year or two it was unbelievable, kids just wanted to play football.

"It would be great to get that kind of buzz back again." 

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