1. Tipperary too strong and powerful on home soil
It’s remarkable how quickly Tipperary’s season has changed. The knives were out for Eamon O’Shea and his players after they were pegged back at the death in early June against Limerick. Today in late July, they played their last competitive game of the year in Thurles and departed with smiles on their faces.
They were too strong and powerful on home soil as they strung together a third successive qualifier win. It wasn’t an electric performance in what was a lethargic game but Tipperary never looked like faltering. They bossed the match and are back brimming with confidence as they head for the last four.
2. Dublin can’t get season back on track after Leinster final
Dublin were desperately poor three weeks ago in the Leinster final as the impressive facets of their 2013 campaign were glaringly absent. The hope was that showing against Kilkenny was an aberration. Instead that form was replicated today against Tipperary.
Their spirit and work-rate were commendable but the slickness of touch was lacking. Liam Rushe and Michael Carton hurled splendidly in the half-back line but up front they struck bad wides from open play and placed balls. They looked unsure of themselves and ultimately couldn’t revive their campaign.
3. Tipperary continue to shoot the lights out
The standard of opponent may have assisted Tipperary of late but certainly their scoring returns have been hugely impressive in the qualifiers. Today’s return of 2-22 means they have chalked up 10-72 in their last three encounters.
Seamus Callanan has been the scorer in chief in that regard as he has amassed 5-30. John O’Dwyer bagged two goals today while Gearoid Ryan and Lar Corbett also showed up well. They have packed a powerful attacking punch and they will buoyed by the capabilities of their forward line ahead of the showdown with Cork.
4. Croke Park beckons for Tipperary
The last time Tipperary featured in an All-Ireland senior semi-final, they capitulated against Kilkenny on a horrible day for hurling in the county in 2012. There have been setbacks since then but their spirits will be high as they return to the last four stage on August 17th. Cork are familiar opponents with Croke Park being unfamiliar environs for a meeting of these counties.
Eamon O’Shea will be pleased that his side have shown consistency and strung together some victories. The form of Shane McGrath and Paraic Maher brought huge encouragement today. Eoin Kelly saw game time off the bench while Paul Curran and Conor O’Mahony are being nursed back to health. Michael Cahill should be fit for the semi-final and Tipperary’s squad is taking shape.
5. The future for Anthony Daly and Dublin
Dublin’s 2014 campaign ends on a sombre note and defeat will prompt speculation over Anthony Daly’s future. The Clare man has been in charge for six seasons and will take time to assess where he now goes.
He has brought superb progress with a 2011 league crown, a 2013 Leinster title and an unlucky All-Ireland semi-final loss last August. But 2014 didn’t bring signs that they are climbing further up the hurling ladder with the championship defeats to Kilkenny and Tipperary providing evidence of regression. It will be interesting to see if Daly returns to the helm in 2015.