Fintan O’Toole reports from Semple Stadium, Thurles
GOALS EARLY IN the second-half from John O’Dwyer and Seamus Callanan proved crucial in propelling Tipperary to their first points of the Allianz hurling league yesterday afternoon.
In front of 4,176 spectators in Semple Stadium, Tipperary had to withstand a late rally by Galway before late points by captain Brendan Maher and substitute Conor Kenny sealed victory for the Premier.
It was a satisfying afternoon’s work for manager Eamonn O’Shea after he had witnessed his team fall to Dublin by 12 points in their league opener last Sunday. They got to the pitch of this game quicker and were ahead after a high-scoring first-half by 0-14 to 0-11.
Kieran Bergin was the star of the opening period as he shot 0-3 from midfield while Jason Forde and debutant John McGrath, both key members of the UL Fitzigbbon Cup team, also caught the eye.
Galway trailed by five points at one stage approaching half-time but they hung in there with Cathal Mannion, Padraig Brehony and Andy Smith all on target in the opening-half while Jason Flynn struck an exquisite point from a sideline.
Ultimately the game was defined by Tipperary’s two-goal blast. A minute after the restart O’Dwyer rifled a shot to the net after McGrath did well to boot the ball across to him under pressure. In the 45th minute, Tipperary struck once more with McGrath again the provider.
He fired in a low ball while off-balance in the direction of the goal. It looked like Seamus Callanan may have nudged Galway full-back John Hanbury but the referee waved play on and Callanan scooped the ball delightfully over goalkeeper Colm Callanan and into the Galway net.
That pushed Tipperary into a 2-15 to 0-11 lead and they were still in control midway through the half as they enjoyed a 2-16 to 0-13 advantage. But Galway refused to throw in the towel and enjoyed their most productive spell of the game.
They shut up shop at the back and rattled off seven points without reply to leave the away fans in full voice. Joseph Cooney was their trump card after he was switched to attack as he notched some fine points while Mannion, Jonathan Glynn and substitute Brian Molloy were also on the mark as well.
Tipperary saw their lead shaved to three at one juncture but they regained their nerve when they needed it most to close out the game successfully.
Scorers for Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 1-3 (0-2f), John O’Dwyer 1-1, Jason Forde, Kieran Bergin 0-3 each, John McGrath 0-2, Darren Gleeson (0-1f), Ronan Maher, Gearoid Ryan, Brendan Maher, Denis Maher, Conor Kenny 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: Jason Flynn 0-4 (0-2f, 0-1 sideline, 0-1 ’65), Joseph Cooney, Cathal Mannion 0-3 each, Andrew Smith (0-2f), James Regan, Padraig Brehony 0-2 each, Iarla Tannian, Dean Higgins, Brian Molloy, Jonathan Glynn 0-1 each.
1. Darren Gleeson (Portroe)
2. Cathal Barrett (Holycross Ballycahill)
3. Paul Curran (Mullinahone)
4. Conor O’Brien (Éire Óg Annacarty)
5. Michael Breen (Ballina)
6. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
7. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
8. Kieran Bergin (Killenaule)
9. Gearóid Ryan (Templederry Kenyons)
10. Denis Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
11. Jason Forde (Silvermines)
12. Brendan Maher (Borris Ileigh, c)
13. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule)
14. Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch)
15. John McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney)
26. James Woodlock (Drom-Inch) for Ryan (half-time)
20. Conor Kenny (Borris-Ileigh) for Denis Maher (inj) (41)
22. Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney) for John McGrath (55)
23. John Meagher (Loughmore Castleiney) for Bergin (69)
1. Colm Callanan (Kinvara)
2. Johnny Coen (Loughrea)
3. John Hanbury (Rahoon/Newcastle)
4. Padraig Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)
5. Gearoid McInerney (Oranmore/Maree)
6. David Collins (Liam Mellows)
7. Iarla Tannian (Ardrahan)
8. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields)
9. Andrew Smith (Portumna)
10. Padraig Brehony (Tynagh/Abbey/Duniry)
13. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh/Fohenagh)
12. Dean Higgins (Castlegar)
15. James Regan (St. Thomas)
14. Jason Flynn (Tommy Larkins)
11. Jonathan Glynn (Ardrahan)
17. Kevin Hynes (Sarsfields) for Brehony (43)
23. Greg Lally (Gort) for Higgins (47)
26. Brian Molloy (Kilnadeema-Leitrim) for Regan (51)
24. Aidan Harte (Gort) for Flynn (68)
Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)
- This article was first published on 22 February at 4.27pm