The date is still fresh in the minds of Tipperary football followers. 22 November 2020.

Páirc Uí Chaoimh the venue as the Premier County ended a wait of 85 years for a provincial title. It was a deserved success on a weekend the centenary of Bloody Sunday was marked. June of last year saw David Power's side relegated to Division 4 of the Allianz League. A few weeks later, Tipp, as expected, exited the championship at the hands of Kerry. 2021 was a bit of a come down alright.

The close season saw the retirement of Brian Fox, while 2016 All-Star Michael Quinlivan announced that he would not be involved for the season ahead. A chance then for others to make their mark as Tipperary look to emerge from yet another trough.

O'Brien. pictured at Semple Stadium, where Tipperary GAA agreed a five-year deal with FBD Insurance for the naming rights of the famous venue.

Steven O'Brien has experienced a few peaks and troughs since first lining out for the county's footballers in 2014. Speaking to the media at the announcement of FBD Insurance being named as the new sponsor of Semple Stadium, the Ballina clubman stated that "trying to find consistency" is what is driving the blue and gold this year.

"It's the one thing that has evaded us for the past while," he added.

"There are plenty of good footballers in Tipperary; we just need to blood them in right"

"Despite Covid and all the elements, we had a brilliant season in 2020, winning the Munster final and getting to an All-Ireland semi-final. To not back that up in 2021 was disappointing. It's something we need to get after now. We're back down in Division 4, so it's a chance to regroup and transition. We can only go up from there. It's about putting the shoulder to the wheel and trying to get that consistency.

"There are plenty of good footballers in Tipperary; we just need to blood them in right.

"There is no point throwing them all in at the deep end. You need to bring in one or two at the time - and not seven or eight - which sometimes happens because of injuries and the close run of games."

The absence of Quinlivan will be keenly felt, says O'Brien.

"Personally I'd see it as a massive loss, he's a huge character within the group. I've been playing with Michael since 2011 when we were minor.

"As everyone knows, he's a well-esteemed forward, a clinical finisher. So it's a big void that's going to have to be filled. I've no doubt in the lads coming through that can step up to the mark. The likes of Seanie O'Connor took great strides last year and he went very well with the club and the Tipp U20s last year. I know there's plenty of lads chomping at the bit to get it.

Quinlivan got an All-Star in 2016, the year Tipp reached an All-Ireland semi-final

"Michael has his own reasons for stepping away through work commitments and stuff like that which is totally understandable. He's given everything he had to Tipp football over the last number of years and I know he'll still support us in everything we do. He'll be a massive loss both on the pitch and off the pitch. That's up to new lads to come in and take the opportunity."

Tipperary and Cavan will be favourites to emerge from the bottom tier of the league, but the 27-year-old is expecting a "battle" in the quest to get the two promotion places.

"When you see the draw with Cork and Kerry on one side, no doubt Tipp, Limerick, Clare and Waterford all see that as an opportunity"

"I've had experience of playing in Division 4 back in 2014. I know what it's like. Every game is a ding-dong battle. People say that after Tipp and Cavan going down, they should come back up. Division 4 is tough, it's not as easy to bounce back up. We'll have to take every game as it comes. Every game will be a battle that's for sure."

This year's Munster campaign sees Tipp on the opposite side to Cork and Kerry in the draw, with O'Brien accentuating the pep in the step that that gives the rest in the province.

"That's what you always want to get to. When you see the draw with Cork and Kerry on one side, no doubt Tipp, Limerick, Clare and Waterford all see that as an opportunity. They'd be lying if they said they didn't. It was the same for us in 2020, that's the way the draw worked.

"I know it definitely gave us that real motivation that there was something really there we could get after and get into a Munster final. Sure when you get into a final it's a two horse race on the day, it could go either way. I've no doubt Tipperary and the other three teams are eyeing up that route to a Munster final."