Jackie Cahill reports from O’Connor Park, Tullamore
TIPPERARY MOVED TOP of Division 3 of the Allianz Football League, on points difference, this afternoon.
All-Star Michael Quinlivan scored a brilliant individual goal in the 53rd minute as the Premier County came from six points down to defeat Offaly in Tullamore.
It’s Tipp’s fourth victory from five League outings and leaves them in a strong position ahead of next Sunday’s visit of Louth, who lost heavily against Armagh today.
Offaly finished the game with 13 men as Michael Brazil was sent off, along with Tipperary’s George Hannigan, in the 19th minute.
Offaly also lost Peter Cunningham to a red card in the 68th minute – for a second bookable offence.
Tipp had 11 different scorers on the day – and produced a much-improved second half performance to remain on course for Division 2 football in 2018.
A scuffle involving a number of players led to those red cards for Hannigan and Brazil, while Tipp’s Paddy Codd and Offaly’s Sean Doyle were also booked by referee John Hickey, following a lengthy consultation with his fellow officials.
The melee was symptomatic of a poor first half, pockmarked by sloppy play and needless turnovers on a heavy pitch.
There were some bright moments, as Robbie Kiely stormed forward for 1-1 for Tipp, showing a misfiring attack how it’s done.
Between them, Tipp’s six starting forwards managed just two points from play in the entire first half, the first of those from Conor Sweeney with 53 seconds on the watch.
The sides traded the first four scores before Tipp nudged ahead, Kevin O’Halloran converting a long-range free.
But Offaly hit the front again in bizarre fashion in the 14th minute, when 2016 All-Star nominee Evan Comerford failed to deal with Nigel Dunne’s seemingly harmless low ball in from the left.
The ball bounced in front of the goalkeeper and he could only fumble it into the air, before unfortunate corner back Shane O’Connell inadvertently deflected it into the net.
That goal handed Offaly, operating with a strong breeze, a two-point cushion (1-2 to 0-3) but Tipp were ahead in the 27th minute.
Kiely’s deflected goal was created by Sweeney but Shane Nally’s point tied the scores at 1-5 apiece in the 30th minute.
Nigel Dunne’s free put Offaly ahead again before seven minutes of additional time at the end of the first half yielded just one score – Bernard Allen’s second free of the afternoon – to leave the hosts 1-7 to 1-5 ahead at the break.
Tipp opened the second half with a Liam Casey point but Offaly hit an unanswered 1-2, including Joseph O’Connor’s well-taken goal, to lead by 2-9 to 1-6.
Tipp’s response was impressive as they posted 1-4 without reply to regain the whip hand.
Quinlivan, despite carrying a quad injury that required heavy strapping, slalomed through before finding the top corner with a clinical finish 17 minutes from the end of normal time.
Nigel Dunne’s point tied the game at 2-10 each but Tipp showed fine game management down the home straight to claim the win.
Offaly lost Cunningham when he was yellow-carded in the 65th and 68th minutes – and Tipp closed the game out with late points from Jimmy Feehan and Kevin Fahey.
Offaly remain deep in relegation trouble, joint-bottom of the table alongside neighbours Laois.
Scorers for Tipperary – Robbie Kiely 1-1, Conor Sweeney 0-4 (1f), Michael Quinlivan 1-0, Kevin O’Halloran 0-3f, Shane O’Connell, Jimmy Feehan, Liam Casey, Josh Keane (f), Liam Boland, Jack Kennedy & Kevin Fahey 0-1 each.
Scorers for Offaly – Shane O’Connell 1-0 (o.g.), Joseph O’Connor 1-0, Bernard Allen (2f) & Nigel Dunne (1f) 0-3 each, Shane Nally 0-2, Graham Guilfoyle, Peter Cunningham & Sean Doyle 0-1 each.
1. Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
2. Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers)
3. Paddy Codd (Killenaule)
25. Shane O’Connell (Golden-Kilfeacle)
22. Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
6. Robbie Kiely (Carbery Rangers, Cork)
7. Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule)
8. Liam Casey (Cahir)
18. George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers)
12. Brian Fox (capt. – Éire Óg Annacarty)
11. Kevin O’Halloran (Portroe)
10. Josh Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle)
13. Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen)
14. Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials)
21. Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers)
17. Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials) for Feehan (temp – 5-14)
9. Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials) for Boland (h.t.)
17. Kevin Fahey for Maher (56)
4. Willie Connors (Kiladangan) for O’Connell (64)
20. Liam McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Casey (66)
16. Alan Mulhall (Walsh Island)
6. Brian Darby (Rhode)
3. James Lawlor (Raheen)
4. Sean Pender (capt. – Edenderry)
19. Joseph O’Connor (St Rynagh’s)
11. Peter Cunningham (Bracknagh)
5. Niall Darby (Rhode)
7. David Hanlon (Edenderry)
8. Eoin Carroll (Cappincur)
18. Shane Nally (Ferbane)
10. Graham Guilfoyle (Clara)
12. Michael Brazil (Tullamore)
15. Bernard Allen (Tubber)
14. Nigel Dunne (Shamrocks)
22. Sean Doyle (Edenderry)
25. Jack Walsh (Gracefield) for Doyle (45)
20. Jason Gethings (Cappincur) for Hanlon (59)
26. Adam Mahon (Edenderry) for O’Connor (60)
13. Ruairi McNamee (Rhode) for Allen (65)
21. Declan Hogan (Tullamore) for Nally (b/c 70)
23. Willie Mulhall (Walsh Island) for Dunne (70+3).
Referee – John Hickey (Carlow)