Lacklustre Tipperary make hard work of seeing off Westmeath

Daragh Mooney’s goal save from Westmeath’s Cormac Boyle proved crucial

Westmeath’s Gary Greville blocks down Tipperary’s Aidan McCormack during the All-Ireland Round One Hurling qualifier at  Semple Stadium. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Westmeath’s Gary Greville blocks down Tipperary’s Aidan McCormack during the All-Ireland Round One Hurling qualifier at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

 

Tipperary 2-18 Westmeath 0-15

Tipperary made desperately hard work of seeing off Westmeath at Semple Stadium before booking their place in round two of the All-Ireland senior hurling championship qualifiers.

Goals in either half from John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and John McGrath were enough to see the Premier County past a gritty Westmeath outfit.

But Tipp were just three points clear – 1-12 to 0-12 – when debutant goalkeeper Daragh Mooney denied Westmeath’s Cormac Boyle a goal with a fine save in the 53rd minute.

Tipp kicked on to lead by 11 points before Westmeath’s Allan Devine scored two deep in stoppage time to keep the Lake County’s losing margin in single figures.

That’s in sharp contrast to the 31-point whipping the county’s senior footballers suffered against Dublin last weekend – and this was a display to be proud of from the hurlers.

In front of 6,893 spectators, Tipp were really poor and while they led by 1-10 to 0-9 at half-time, they went 18 minutes without a score from the 19th minute until stoppage time at the end of the half.

O’Dwyer’s 15th-minute goal gave them a buffer but Westmeath hit five unanswered points in a six-minute spell as Tipp fell asleep.

The hosts, playing with the breeze in the second half, lost Niall O’Meara to a serious ankle injury and below-par forward Séamus Callanan was subbed off.

John McGrath came off the bench to score a late goal – and add some gloss to the scoreboard – but Tipp will have to improve significantly to trouble superior opposition in seven days’ time.

TIPPERARY: D Mooney; J Barry, T Hamill, D Maher; Joe O’Dwyer, R Maher (0-1), Pádraic Maher; B Maher (0-1), N McGrath (0-2); D McCormack, Patrick Maher (0-1), M Breen; John O’Dwyer (1-3, one free), S Callanan (0-5, four frees, one 65), N O’Meara (0-2).

Subs: J Forde (0-2) for Breen (44 mins), J McGrath (1-1) for Callanan (45 mins), A McCormack for O’Meara (60 mins), S O’Brien for Patrick Maher (64 mins), T Fox for Pádraic Maher (68 mins).

WESTMEATH: P Carroll; S Power, T Doyle, G Greville; A Craig, P Greville (0-2, one free), L Varley; A Clarke (0-1), R Greville (0-1); J Boyle, K Doyle (0-2), D McNicholas (0-1); A Devine (0-6, four frees), N Mitchell, N O’Brien (0-1).

Subs: C Boyle (0-1) for J Boyle (21 mins), B Murtagh for McNicholas (64 mins), D Egerton for O’Brien (66 mins), J Galvin for C Boyle (69 mins), C Shaw for Varley (70+1 mins).

Referee: P O’Dwyer (Carlow)

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