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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 24 October, 2019

Below-par Tipperary overcome Westmeath

Goals in either half from John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and sub John McGrath helped the reigning champions prevail.

Tipperary’s John O’Dwyer scores a goal.
Tipperary’s John O’Dwyer scores a goal.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

All-Ireland SHC round 1 qualifier

Tipperary 2-18
Westmeath 0-15

Jackie Cahill reports from Semple Stadium, Thurles.

CHAMPIONS TIPPERARY ARE through to round 2 of the All-Ireland senior hurling championship qualifiers — but they produced a dismal performance against Westmeath at Semple Stadium this afternoon.

Goals in either half from John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and sub John McGrath helped Tipperary over the line but while the winning margin was nine points, they were only three clear with 17 minutes of normal time remaining.

Daragh Mooney, making his championship debut for Tipperary, pulled off a brilliant save in the 53rd minute to keep out Westmeath’s Cormac Boyle, when a goal would have levelled matters.

Tipp kicked on from there but on an afternoon when they registered 16 wides in front of a 6,893 attendance, manager Michael Ryan has plenty to ponder ahead of next weekend.

Tipp led by 11 points late on before Allan Devine scored two injury-time points to keep the Westmeath losing margin to single figures.

This was an excellent Westmeath performance in front of 6,893 spectators in Thurles.

Tipp are in the hat for Monday morning’s round 2 qualifier draw, but they’ll have to improve significantly to trouble superior opposition in seven days’ time.

Tipp registered 16 wides over the course of the game and also suffered a real blow when Niall O’Meara was stretchered off in the second half with an ankle injury, while ace marksman Seamus Callanan was subbed off.

Showing six changes from the side that started the Munster quarter-final defeat to Cork, Tipp never got going and only a late goal from sub John McGrath added some gloss to the scoreline.

It was a performance to be proud of for Westmeath — six days after their footballers were hammered by 31 points against Dublin.

Tipp led by just four points – 1-10 to 0-9 – at the end of a desperately poor first half.
John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer netted for the hosts in the 15th minute, but it was one of the rare highlights of a dreadful opening period from the All-Ireland champions.

The game was 40 seconds old and Westmeath, playing with a first-half breeze, had a two-point lead, Killian Doyle and Niall O’Brien raising white flags.

Tipp took over from there and were nine points clear, 1-9 to 0-4, by the 19th minute.
They could have goaled as early as the third minute, but Paddy Carroll saved well at his near post from Michael Breen, before O’Dwyer found a way past him later in the half.

After moving into that big lead, the Premier County dozed off and went 18 minutes without a score, as Westmeath hit five on the spin.

That purple patch from the Lake County narrowed the gap to just three points — 0-9 to 1-9 — before Ronan Maher stopped the Tipp rot in the second minute of stoppage time, firing over the final score of the half from distance.

Westmeath refused to yield in the second half but while they did get to within three points — and Mooney was forced into action — the Lake County visibly tired in the closing quarter and Tipp were able to push for home.

Scorers for Tipperary – John O’Dwyer 1-3 (0-1f), Seamus Callanan 0-5 (4f, 1 65), John McGrath 1-1, Noel McGrath, Niall O’Meara & Jason Forde 0-2 each, Ronan Maher, Brendan Maher & Patrick Maher 0-1 each.

Scorers for Westmeath – Allan Devine 0-6 (4f), Paul Greville (1f) & Killian Doyle 0-2 each, Aonghus Clarke, Robbie Greville, Derek McNicholas, Niall O’Brien & Cormac Boyle 0-1 each.


1. Daragh Mooney (Eire Óg Annacarty-Donohill)

4. James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane)
3. Tomás Hamill (Moyne-Templetuohy)
2. Donagh Maher (Burgess)

5. Joe O’Dwyer (Killenaule)
6. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields — captain)

8. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
9. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)

10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh)
11. Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha)
12. Michael Breen (Ballina)

13. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule)
14. Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch)
15. Niall O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs)


20. Jason Forde (Silvermines) for Breen (44)
24. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Callanan (45)
23. Aidan McCormack (Thurles Sarsfields) for O’Meara (inj, 60)
26. Steven O’Brien (Ballina) for Patrick Maher (64)
21. Tom Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill) for Pádraic Maher (68)


1. Paddy Carroll (St Brigid’s)

2. Shane Power (Clonkill)
3. Tommy Doyle (Lough Lene Gaels)
4. Gary Greville (Raharney)

5. Aaron Craig (St Oliver Plunketts)
6. Paul Greville (Raharney)
7. Liam Varley (Castletown Geoghegan)

8. Aonghus Clarke (Castletown Geoghegan)
9. Robbie Greville (Raharney)

10. Joey Boyle (Raharney)
11. Killian Doyle (Raharney)
12. Derek McNicholas (Lough Lene Gaels)

13. Allan Devine (Castlepollard)
14. Niall Mitchell (Clonkill)
15. Niall O’Brien (Castletown Geoghegan)


18. Cormac Boyle (Raharney) for J Boyle (21)
24. Brendan Murtagh (Clonkill) for McNicholas (64)
19. Darragh Egerton (Clonkill) for O’Brien (66)
21. Jack Galvin (Cullion) for C Boyle (69)
17. Conor Shaw (Brownstown) for Varley (70+1).

Referee – Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)

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About the author:

Jackie Cahill

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