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'It’s well documented that we’ve struggled to win those kinds of games'

Tipp boss Michael Ryan savoured victory.

Tipperary manager Michael Ryan embraces Seamus Callanan at the final whistle.
Tipperary manager Michael Ryan embraces Seamus Callanan at the final whistle.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

TIPPERARY HAVE BEEN in their fair share of tight hurling encounters in recent seasons.

The tricky part has been manufacturing wins out of those close contests.

Today they dug out a victory, just a single point separating themselves and Galway to serve as proof of the strides they have made in twelve months.

It’s the first time since the 2012 Munster senior hurling semi-final against Cork that Tipperary have been one-point victors in a championship outing.

In that time frame they have suffered a bunch of agonising losses:

  • 2013: Limerick 1-18 Tipperary 1-15
  • 2013: Kilkenny 0-20 Tipperary 1-14
  • 2014: Limerick 2-18 Tipperary 2-16
  • 2014: Kilkenny 2-17 Tipperary 2-14
  • 2015: Galway 0-26 Tipperary 3-16

Little wonder then that manager Michael Ryan’s post-match satisfaction was borne from finally securing a success.

“I think it’s an important win, I wouldn’t underestimate it. It’s well documented that we’ve struggled to win those kinds of games.

“Whether you like being associated with that or not, it’s a fact. To turn one around and win a tight one is nice because the prize is great.

“We’re thrilled, absolutely. There’s no silverware for a semi-final but in a sense there’s a lot more on offer.

“The chance to get to hurling’s holy grail, playing on the first Sunday in September, that’s every team’s wish in January. We’re there.

“It wasn’t pretty but we’re delighted, and it was a great kind of game to win.”

The Tipperary success stemmed from plundering two goals in the last ten minutes. Bubbles O’Dwyer marked his return from suspension by depositing the ball to the net for a game breaking score in the 61st minute.

John O'Dwyer celebrates his goal with John McGrath John O'Dwyer celebrates his goal with John McGrath Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“I don’t need to tell ye the kind of talent Bubbles O’Dwyer has, he’s a hugely talented player,” admitted Ryan.

“But it wasn’t just him. It’s a collective. The pressure on the backs – in fairness, Galway were pressing, they really, really fought for this.

“It’s so obvious it meant so much to both groups, and we’re delighted to be at the right end of the result.

“If that game had gone on another two minutes it could have ebbed and flowed, we could have been on the end of a one-point margin. We’re thrilled.”

'It’s well documented that we’ve struggled to win those kinds of games'
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  • John McGrath celebrates scoring Tipperary's second goal

    Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO
  • Tipperary defenders Padraic Maher and Michael Cahill

    Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO
  • Tipperary goalkeepers Darren Gleeson and Darragh Mooney

    Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO
  • Tipp boss Michael Ryan

    Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO
  • Tipperary attacking duo Noel McGrath and John O'Dwyer.

    Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO
  • Jason Forde, Tomas Hamill and Ronan Maher celebrate Tipperary's win

    Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO
  • Padraic Maher savours a semi-final success

    Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO
  • Seamus Callinan and Darren Gleeson can look forward to an All-Ireland final

    Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

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The triumph also ends a luckless run for Munster champions of late. The last four winners from the province have not coped successfully with a long hiatus and lost an All-Ireland semi-final.

Did Ryan feel that five-week break was an initial hindrance?

“I could give you the glib answer and say no, we won. But putting more thought into it, I didn’t think we got to the pace of it, that Galway were quicker out of the blocks and caused us all sorts of issues in certain places.

Michael Ryan celebrates Michael Ryan celebrates Tipperary's win with team official John 'Hotpoint' Hayes Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“But that’s what you’d expect, All-Ireland semi-final day, we were a bit slower than we’d like and we have plenty to work on – but work on it we will.

“It’s a great incentive, three weeks time to come back up here and have a go at Kilkenny, the recognised best team of our generation – and many generations.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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