“We’re as far as we were last year. The plan is to progress that one step further."
By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Niamh Lillis did not begin the year as Tipperary manager but she was a key member of Bill Mullaney’s backroom staff so there was no way the ambition would alter when she took over the hot seat after Mullaney stood down for health reasons early in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship.
Anyway, as a multiple All-Ireland winner herself, the notion of getting her kicks from moral victories would sicken the nurse from Drom & Inch.
So it is no surprise that Lillis would continue to emphasis a message that has emanated from the camp since the beginning of the season regarding targets for the summer.
Cáit Devane, Mary Ryan and Clodagh Quirke are just three of the on-pitch leaders that have not hidden from emphasising the need to maintain the progress of recent years.
Therefore, returning to the Semi-Finals was the minimum aim, with the improvement to be seen in a sustained 65-minute performance in the penultimate round which they hope will see them back in the decider for the first time since 2006, when Ryan was a member of the squad.
Lillis has revealed that there was satisfaction at a job well done following the hard-earned victory over Limerick in the Quarter-Final, there was no over-exuberance in the celebrations because they had only realised the first ambition.
“We said it in the dressing room” said Lillis. “We’re as far as we were last year. We’re at an All-Ireland Semi-Final stage. The plan is to progress that one step further.
“You’re always hoping to progress from the year before. It’s going to take a lot of effort. It’s going to take a lot of work, but we’re looking forward to it.
“We’re hoping we’ll produce a Semi-Final display that will hopefully take us to Croke Park and get that step further. You have to be always willing to shove on and push on.”
Orla O'Dwyer's heartache
In a boost for the camógs, dual player Orla O'Dwyer will line out for Tipp against Kilkenny rather than the footballers who have a match fixed for the same afternoon. The camogie takes place at 5.30 in the LIT Gaelic Grounds, while the footballers are out in Nowlan Park at 3.00 against Sligo, making it impossible for the UL student to play both.
Tipperary had requested to move the football back a week but to no avail.