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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 17 October, 2018
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Sweeney bags 2-5 as Tipperary claim Division 3 National Football League title at Croke Park

Goals proved the difference at Croke Park this evening.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Tipperary 3-19
Louth 0-19

Jackie Cahill reports from Croke Park

CONOR SWEENEY COLLECTED 2-5 and Michael Quinlivan looked almost sheepish accepting the man-of-the-match award as Tipperary claimed the Allianz National Football League title at Croke Park this evening.

A first half goal from Liam Casey was followed up by two second half Sweeney goals – including one in the eighth minute of stoppage time – as Tipp won national silverware for the first time since lifting the Division 4 trophy in 2014.

It was a happy return to Croke Park for Liam Kearns and his Tipperary footballers, appearing at GAA HQ for the first time since last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Mayo.

Quinlivan was handed the man-of-the-match award but looked almost embarrassed accepting it, after Sweeney led the way in the scoring stakes.

But All-Star Quinlivan still played his part, showing flashes of true class again following his hat-trick against Armagh last Sunday.

Tipp racked up another big score and this win was sweet revenge for defeat to Louth in Thurles almost a fortnight ago.

That win ensured Division 2 football for the Wee County but a big setback looked to have blown a fatal hole in Tipp’s promotion hopes.

But after that stunning victory in Armagh last weekend, Tipp finished a memorable campaign with silverware.

Brian Fox lifts the trophy Tipperary captain Brian Fox lifts the trophy. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

In the first half, a devastating scoring burst turned this game on its head, Tipp hitting 1-5 without reply approaching half-time.

Louth had been performing well up to that point and were 0-7 to 0-4 clear before Tipp opened up.

Conor Sweeney and Kevin O’Halloran put over frees before Jack Kennedy and Sweeney pointed from play, moving Tipp into the lead for the first time in the game, 0-8 to 0-7.

The goal arrived on the half hour mark, Sweeney the creator with an excellent hand-pass that found Liam Casey in behind the Louth cover.

The former U21 midfield star held his nerve and crashed a shot past Craig Lynch.

Alan Campbell surged forward for a Tipperary point and the damage had been done in a five-minute spell.

Louth did steady before half-time as the sides shared the remaining four points but the Wee County did have the breeze at their backs in the second half, trailing by 0-9 to 1-11 as play restarted.

They started well, too, as cutting Tipp’s lead back to just two points, 1-12 to 0-13.

But the winners regrouped and the second goal was a knife in Louth’s hearts, coming in the 47th minute.

It was a wholly avoidable concession from Louth’s viewpoint, as Bevan Duffy was turned over as he attempted to clear, allowing Sweeney to pounce.

Louth hung in grimly and while they did cut the margin back to four points down the home straight, Tipp made the game safe on the counter-attack in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

Sub Liam McGrath gathered possession inside the Louth half and picked out Sweeney, all on his own on the opposition’s 20m line.

Sweeney turned inside a back-pedalling defender and slotted past Lynch to put the icing on the Tipperary cake.

Scorers for Tipperary: Conor Sweeney 2-5 (0-3f), Liam Casey 1-1, Kevin O’Halloran (2f) & Michael Quinlivan (2f) 0-3 each, Jack Kennedy 0-2, Alan Campbell, Robbie Kiely, Josh Keane, Liam Boland & Liam McGrath 0-1 each.

Scorers for Louth: Ryan Burns 0-5 (4f), Tommy Durnin, Declan Byrne (1f) & Jim McEneaney (3f) 0-3 each, Pauric Smith 0-2, Derek Maguire, Andy McDonnell & Eoin O’Connor 0-1 each.

Tipperary

1. Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)

2. Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers)
3. Paddy Codd (Killenaule)
4. Willie Connors (Kiladangan)

6. Robbie Kiely (Carbery Rangers)
7. Shane O’Connell (Golden-Kilfeacle)
5. Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)

8. Liam Casey (Cahir)
9. Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)

10. Josh Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle)
11. Kevin O’Halloran (Portroe)
12. Brian Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill – captain)

13. Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen)
14. Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials)
15. Emmet Moloney (Drom & Inch)

Subs

22. George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers) for E Moloney (52)
21. Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers) for O’Halloran (61)
20. Colm O’Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan) for Connors (64)
18. Alan Moloney (Rockwell Rovers) for Kennedy (66)
23. Liam McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Keane (70+1)
19. Joseph Hennessy (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Quinlivan (70+6).

Louth

1. Craig Lynch (Naomh Mairtin)

2. Padraig Rath (Dreadnots)
3. Patrick Reilly (Naomh Mairtin)
4. Anthony Williams (Dreadnots)

5. Derek Maguire (Dundalk Young Ireland’s)
6. John Bingham (Ardee St Mary’s)
7. James Stewart (Dundalk Gaels)

8. Tommy Durnin (Westerns)
9. Andy McDonnell (Newtown Blues)

10. Declan Byrne (St Mochta’s)
11. Pauric Smith (Dreadnots)
12. Bevan Duffy (St Fechin’s)

13. Adrian Reid (Mattock Rangers – captain)
14. Eoin O’Connor (St Patrick’s)
15. Ryan Burns (Hunterstown Rovers)

Subs

23. Kurt Murphy (Seán O’Mahonys) for Reilly (h.t.)
18. Ruairí Moore (O’Raghallaighs) for Reid (45)
21. Jim McEneaney (Geraldines) for O’Connor (48)
26. Gerard McSorley (Dundalk Gaels) for Burns (57)
19. Conal McKeever (Clan Na Gael) for Durnin (64)
22. James Califf (Dreadnots) for Byrne (70)

Referee – Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)

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