Tipperary cruise past Dublin’s inexperience
The All-Ireland champions picked up exactly where they left off at GAA headquarters
Dublin’s Ryan O’Dwyer and Paddy Smyth tackle Aidan McCormack of Tipperary during their Allianz League clash. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Tipperary 1-24 Dublin 1-8
Five months on and Tipperary returned to Croke Park to pick up exactly where they’d left off in that bright September sunshine, the All-Ireland champions softly crushing Dublin without it seemed even trying so hard.
Then this was no night for memorable hurling, the swirling wind and cold blustery rain making it a sort of winter endurance test – and that was in the sheltered press box.
Still, there were some moments of warm hurling from the likes of Jason Forde, Seamus Callanan and newcomer Aidan McCormack to pass the time, even if Forde’s goal on 55 minutes – the obvious highlight – came at a time when Tipp were already miles ahead.
McCormack finished with five points, all from play, and adds another option to an already loaded Tipp attack, while 2017 captain Paraic Maher delivered a man-of-the-match performance at wing back which included two points from play.
Dublin substitute Eamon Dillon got a goal back for Dublin in the last 10 minutes and yet they comprehensively and worryingly outplayed in the every sector of the field as the game progressed, Tipp looking far more comfortable on the ball especially in the second half.
Dublin did have wind advantage in the first half, but only briefly made it county. Points from Niall McMorrow and Fiontan MacGibb helped them go three points clear, 0-4 to 0-1, after 15 minutes. Tipp however hadn’t played yet.
Instead, they spent the first quarter hour shedding rust, this being their first competitive game since last September (they sat the Waterford Crystal Cup). Manager Michael Ryan started just seven of his All-Ireland winning team, giving debuts to former county footballer Steven O’Brien, plus McCormack.
Slowly they found some grove, Forde and McCormack scoring from play, while Seamus Callanan opened his free-taking account in good order. Level on 20 minutes, Tipp then pressed gently on, Callanan tipping over three more frees and McCormack further impressing at corner forward to leave them comfortably in front at the break, 0-11 to 0-6.
Conditions improved somewhat in the second – mildly not being the suitable word – and with that Tipp improving, winning and holding far more possession in Dublin’s half of the field, allowing Noel McGrath and Tomas Hamill and Kieran Bergin to chip in with points, and suddenly they were 10 points clear, just on the 50-minute mark. Forde’s goal then ended it as a contest.
Dublin manager Ger Cunningham had given youth their chance: still without the Cuala crew, last year’s minors Paddy Smyth, Cian O’Sullivan and Donal Burke all got a start. Former Galway All-Ireland under-21 winner Domhnaill Fox also made his league debut for his adopted county at midfield.
But Fox was among those called ashore before the end however, and in the end there was precious little for Cunningham to be happy about. Dublin finished with 14 men, corner back Shane Barrett sent off on a second bookable offence in the last minute.
Other than Kilkenny, no county has won a hurling league the year after winning the All-Ireland since Galway, in 1989: that, unquestionably, is one of the chief targets of Tipperary this year, particularly after failing to build on their last All-Ireland in 2010. They’re up and running for sure.
TIPPERARY: D Mooney; Maher, J Barry, J O’Keeffe; T Hamill (0-1), R Maher, P Maher (capt) (0-2); B Maher, K Bergin (0-1); S O’Brien, J Forde (1-3), N McGrath (0-1); J O’Dwyer (0-1, a free), S Callanan (0-8, all frees), A McCormack (0-5).
Subs: M Cahill for O’Keeffe (49 mins), S Curran (0-1) for O’Brien (52 mins), N O’Meara (0-1) for Callanan (55 mins), B Heffernan for R Maher (56 min).
DUBLIN: G Maguire; S Barrett, E O’Donnell, P Smyth; C Crummey (0-1), L Rushe (capt), S McGrath; B Quinn, N McMorrow (0-2); D Fox, R O’Dwyer, R MacGib (0-1); O O’Rourke (0-1), D Burke (0-3, all frees), C O’Sullivan.
Subs: J Madden for McGrath (41 mins), E Dillon (1-0) for O’Sullivan (45 mins), R McBride for Fox (49 mins), C Conway for O’Rorke (54 mins), A Quinn for MacGibb (64 mins)
Referee: Paul O’Dwyer (Carlow).