Niall Kelly reports from Parnell Park
DUBLIN GOT THEIR Division 1A campaign off to the perfect start with two valuable points against an underwhelming Tipperary.
Goals in either half from Eamonn Dillon and Liam Rushe helped the Dubs to a 12-point victory in Parnell Park and handed new manager Ger Cunningham his first league win.
With reigning league and All-Ireland champions Kilkenny up next for the Dubs, this will ease the pressure of what is sure to be a ferociously competitive campaign and leave them to build towards a quarter-final place rather than looking nervously over their shoulder at another relegation tussle.
For Tipp, it was another defeat on opening weekend — their fourth in the last five seasons.
Eamonn O’Shea’s side were well off the pace, let down by some wayward shooting, and can thank John “Bubbles” O’Dwyer for helping them to save some face. He finished with six points, five from play, which lent the visitors’ total a bit more respectability.
O’Shea will also count the cost of injuries to Shane McGrath, who suffered a suspected concussion, and Joe O’Dwyer, both of whom are now doubts for next Sunday’s clash with Galway.
Dublin showed seven changes from the side beaten by Tipp in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-finals but again, it was the positions rather than the names on the team-sheet that caused the most intrigue.
Michael Carton slotted in at full-back once again with Peter Kelly in front of him while Conal Keaney — wearing 10 — was one of the most impressive performers in his first inter-county start at wing-back.
Liam Rushe’s move to full-forward appears to have gone beyond the experiment phase and he was pitched in an intriguing battle with Paul Barrett and came off best, setting up one goal and scoring the other as the clock hit the red.
The St Pat’s man supplied the perfect pass for Dublin’s opening goal on 17 minutes, and Dillon’s finish left Tipp keeper Darren Gleeson with no chance.
The goal gave Dublin a 1-5 to 0-2 lead after what had largely been a nip-and-tuck opening. Ten first-half wides did not help Tipp’s cause, not least when many of them came from Seamus Callanan who was so reliable with placed balls last summer. McGrath and O’Dwyer were their only scorers from play as they trailed 1-11 to a paltry 0-5 at the break.
Jason Forde took over free-taking duties after Callanan missed another early in the second half but Dublin kept the scoreboard ticking over with points from Shane Durkin, who had a fine afternoon, Rushe and Paul Ryan, who finished as their top scorer with 0-8 (four frees, one 65)
Tipp did have something of a purple patch, orchestrated by Bubbles, where they outscored Dublin by 0-6 to 0-2 but it was never going to be enough.
Cian Boland was lively when he came off the Dublin bench for the final 11 minutes, scoring one point and setting up two more for Dillon and Danny Sutcliffe, before Rushe applied the gloss with a fine finish for the second goal in additional time.
Scorers for Dublin: Paul Ryan 0-8 (4f, 1 65), Eamonn Dillon 1-2, Liam Rushe 1-1, Danny Sutcliffe, Mark Schutte 0-2 each, Colm Cronin, Ryan O’Dwyer, Chris Crummy, Shane Durkin, Cian Boland 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: John O’Dwyer 0-6 (1f), Seamus Callanan 0-4 (3f), Shane McGrath, Jason Forde (1f), James Woodlock, Conor O’Brien 0-1 each.
1. Alan Nolan
2. Cian O’Callaghan
3. Michael Carton
4. Paul Schutte
5. Shane Durkin
6. Peter Kelly
7. Chris Crummy
8. Danny Sutcliffe
9. Ross O’Carroll
10. Conal Keaney
11. Eamonn Dillon
12. Colm Cronin
13. Paul Ryan
14. Liam Rushe
15. Mark Schutte
22. Ryan O’Dwyer for O’Carroll (14)
24. Cian Boland for O’Dwyer (59)
20. Ben Quinn for Cronin (61)
26. David O’Callaghan for Ryan (65)
19. Johnny McCaffrey for Durkin (68)
1. Darren Gleeson
2. Cathal Barrett
3. Paul Curran
4. Joe O’Dwyer
5. Kieran Bergin
6. Conor O’Mahony
7. Padraic Maher
8. Shane McGrath
9. Brendan Maher
10. Denis Maher
25. Gearoid Ryan
12. James Woodlock
13. John O’Dwyer
14. Seamus Callanan
15. Jason Forde
23. Ronan Maher for Denis Maher (HT)
26. Thomas Stapleton for McGrath (HT)
24. Conor O’Brien for O’Mahony (53)
18. Michael Breen for Joe O’Dwyer (67)