Tipperary bowed out of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship after a narrow two-point loss to Armagh on Saturday in Thurles.
The defeat marked the end of Liam Kearns’ two-year term in charge of The Premier County, and the question now must be asked, where to for both parties?
Kearns has brought the level of Tipp football to soaring new heights throughout his tenure, having gone on a remarkable run all the way to the All-Ireland semi-final stage last year and gaining promotion to division 2 of the National Football League.
TippFm have reported that it is not yet known whether the Tralee native will remain at the helm for another stint.
It is reported that Kearns will decide on his future and make the decision to stay involved with the Tipp camp or not after he discusses the matter with his family and those high up in Tipperary football circles. The 55-year-old is said to be basing his final decision with “the best interests of Tipperary football” in mind.
The Premier battled through most of this year through adversity. Their goalkeeper, Evan Comerford, missed the entire season having been cited for pushing an official in a club game and subsequently picking up a twelve week suspension. This was a hammer blow to the side’s approach, as Comerford’s pinpoint kickout’s were used as a launching pad for effective attacks throughout 2016.
In addition, the injury to Michael Quinlivan in the first-half of the Munster semi-final loss to Cork in Pairc Uí Rinn had a telling effect on Kearns’ charges season. Had the Clonmel Commercials star been fully fit for the entire 2017 campaign, Tipperary’s year would have taken an alternate path.
The qualifier win over Cavan showed the spirit this team have when playing for Kearns, and there is no doubt given the leaps and bounds that the big ball has come forward in the county, the Tipp faithful will be keen for the ex-Limerick and Laois bainisteoir to extend his stay for another term.