Good day for TJ Ryan as Limerick at last show some depth I didn’t think existed

It couldn’t be set up better for Tipperary but strictly on form they still have a lot to do

Dublin’s John McCaffrey has nowhere to go as Pádraic Maher, Gearoid Ryan, Kieran Bergin and Brendan Maher close in during yesterday’s All-Ireland quarter-final at  Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dublin’s John McCaffrey has nowhere to go as Pádraic Maher, Gearoid Ryan, Kieran Bergin and Brendan Maher close in during yesterday’s All-Ireland quarter-final at Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

I was really looking forward to the day’s hurling. A huge crowd landed into Thurles and the atmosphere around the square beforehand was superb. Everyone expected two great battles, keeping with the theme of the championship so far.

Except for the Leinster final. Instead we got a repeat of Kilkenny’s dismantling of Dublin in both games.

Take nothing away from Limerick though as they totally overran Wexford. In doing so they have made a full recovery from the Munster final when Cork dismantled the midfield which led to both wing backs, Gavin O’Mahony and Paudie O’Brien, being taken off.

They even showed some depth I wasn’t sure existed. Good day for TJ Ryan. The performances of James Ryan and Paul Browne allayed any concerns about the midfield combination as they dominated Lee Chin and David Redmond. That set the tone for this comprehensive victory. No more can be asked of them.

To be honest, it wasn’t a competitive game and the second match was nothing but poor. Tipperary were in control from the opening exchanges and cantered to victory over a Dublin team that appear to have reached the end of the line.

They may not have been as negative as their showing in the Leinster final but it was a similar lethargic, overly deliberate and with some really poor first touches. Losing the ball out over the sideline is unforgivable stuff that deflates the other players and the travelling support.

Trickled out

Alan Nolan

Even the Paul Ryan penalty felt harmless. That was Dublin’s year summed up really. Harmless.

When they beat Wexford earlier in the summer it looked like they were back on the road that delivered a Leinster title in 2013 but, ultimately, they couldn’t recover from the Kilkenny performance.

Despite the many changes Anthony Daly made they didn’t improve, instead they lost all shape.

Tipperary weren’t impressive at all, but they didn’t have to be. They won playing within themselves, which is of little benefit, with Larry Corbett scoring a couple of points before drifting out of the game.

Not that he was needed.

The effortless scores taken by Bubbles O’Dwyer, Gearóid Ryan and Seamus Callanan proved how uncompetitive it all was. Dublin couldn’t get near them on a skill or touch level. Pádraic Maher went on Conal Keaney and stubbed out that threat and the Tipp defence never looked like conceding a goal.

Kieran Bergin can take a lot of credit in the half back line, Shane McGrath came in for Michael Cahill and played well. All the forwards showed well. Bubble’s touch is an example to all hurlers aspiring to play at this level.

In contrast, the Dublin revival hasn’t merely stalled, it has gone backwards. They look a stale team.

The second game really needed to breathe life into the day because Limerick versus Wexford was not what everyone had hoped for.

That theory

Jack Guiney

It could also be said that Wexford still haven’t got over the psychological problem of playing in Thurles but that’s doing a disservice to Limerick.

In the Munster final Declan Hannon and Kevin Downes were replaced. Hannon was excellent here.

Wexford have got away with racking up early wides all summer but Podge Doran’s missed goal chance simply had to be punished in an All-Ireland quarter-final. Shane Dowling ensured that came to pass with 2-4 from play. He was outstanding. Graeme Mulcahy wasn’t far off that level of praise either.

They nailed a lot of the doubts I expressed about them after the Cork defeat. The bitter experience of last year’s defeat to Clare will drive them on. They will present Kilkenny with a serious challenge.

Cork and Kilkenny will have been peering in but Limerick are not far off them and Tipp are bubbling nicely under the surface.

Neither county wants to come in as clear favourites when Cork and Tipperary play each other. It is no advantage at all. That underdog is a very dangerous animal.

It couldn’t be set up better for Tipperary but strictly on form they still have a lot to do.

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