Wednesday 28 September 2016

Sweeney's late double seals historic quarter-final for Tipp

Tipperary 1-21 Derry 2-17

Seán McGoldrick

Published 24/07/2016 | 02:30

Josh Keane of Tipperary comes under pressure from Derry’s Ciaran McFaul during their qualifier clash in Kingspan Breffni Park. Photo: Oliver McVeigh
Josh Keane of Tipperary comes under pressure from Derry’s Ciaran McFaul during their qualifier clash in Kingspan Breffni Park. Photo: Oliver McVeigh

Tipperary footballers achieved an historic breakthrough last night when they reached the All-Ireland quarter-final for the first time.

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It has been quite a season for Liam Kearns's side who defeated Cork in the Munster Championship for the first time since 1944. Now, courtesy of this thrilling win over Derry, they are in the last eight of the All-Ireland series for the first time.

Philip Austin of Tipperary in action against Mark Lynch of Derry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Philip Austin of Tipperary in action against Mark Lynch of Derry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

As a result of Tipperary's win, the other quarter-final scheduled for HQ next Sunday will be between Kerry and Clare.

It will be Kearns's first time to manage a team in the last eight of the All-Ireland series as he was repeatedly thwarted when he was in charge of Limerick even though he guided them to four Munster appearances.

"Derry beat us twice so I owed them. We used to called Hyde Park (in Roscommon) our burial ground as we lost there three years in a row. We were due this one. The satisfaction you get from doing it is huge.

"I can't speak enough about my players; their heart, their commitment. Their dogged refusal to lose the game was immense. I might be biased but it looked like a fantastic match," said the Tipp boss who said he would reserve judgement on the performance of referee Marty Duffy until he watched the game again.

Tipperary manager Liam Hearns celebrates with Kevin O'Halloran. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Tipperary manager Liam Hearns celebrates with Kevin O'Halloran. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

"I couldn't make sense of some of the decisions. I don't want to talk out of turn so I will give it the benefit of the doubt and I am going to look at this on television again, but I really was perplexed."

"We have Galway now, there were very impressive. But my guys won't be afraid of Croke Park We just have to get ourselves down to earth again."

Derry boss Damien Barton didn't complain about the outcome.

Read more: Double Munster success a huge victory for honest football over adversity

Colm O'Shaughnessy of Tipperary in action against Enda Lynn of Derry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Colm O'Shaughnessy of Tipperary in action against Enda Lynn of Derry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

"It was always going to be a game of fine margins and only for the fine goal we worked we would never have been in that position. I can't take anything away from the boys, they were great over the last few weeks."

The cards have certainly fallen for Kerry this season - they are odds-on favourites to reach the last four in the All-Ireland series without playing any team outside their province and no county which played higher than Division 3 this season.

Tipperary hit five points on the spin in the first 11 minutes and although Danny Heavron lifted the siege for Derry when he burst through and his rasping shot was pushed over the crossbar by Tipp 'keeper Evan Comerford, the Munster side moved into a 0-7 to 0-3 lead after 20 minutes while Michael Quinlivan was denied a goal by Derry goalkeeper Thomas Mallon.

With Derry's playmaker Mark Lynch being effectively policed by Ciarán McDonald, it was Heavron and late replacement Niall Loughlin - who scored three points from play in the first half - who led the Derry comeback.

Tipperary started to experience trouble securing their own kick-out and Derry took advantage, hitting four points on the spin before another Heavron run split the Tipp defence and his offload was kicked to the net by Lynch in the 32nd minute.

Neither side recorded a wide up until the 24th minute and then the Premier hit six in a row. But they finally got some traction in injury time.

The referee appeared to award a free for an early infringement in the movement and O'Halloran - whose striking of the ball from the ground in the first quarter was immaculate - converted his third placed ball and then Quinlivan hit his second point from play and his third of the half to leave the minimum between the sides at the break, with Derry leading 1-8 to 0-10.

Mallon came to the rescue again when he saved brilliantly from Sweeney soon after the resumption but O'Halloran nailed his fourth free of the evening soon afterwards to tie up the game.

Tipperary got a crucial break less than five minutes later when after a shot from Bill Maher dropped short, goalkeeper Thomas Mallon sent his clearance straight to Kevin O'Halloran and he kept his head and planted the ball in the Derry net to give his side a three-point advantage.

The next 10 minutes boiled down to a place-kicking contest between Quinlivan and Lynch, though Tipp had extended their advantage to five with seven minutes of normal time remaining.

Derry emptied their bench and the changes worked; they hit the next two points and as Tipp failed to secure a succession of kick-outs, Derry moved the ball down the right flank before transferring it across the goal and substitute Eoghan Browne was on hand to guide the ball to the net to give Derry a sensational lead.

Heavron hit his fourth point from play to double their advantage before an O'Halloran free - he was later shown a black card - gave Tipperary a chance and they reserved their best until the end with a brace of points from Conor Sweeney to secure a famous win.

Read more: Clare footballers in dreamland after handing ragged Rossies reality check

Scorers - Tipperary: K O'Halloran 1-5 (1 '45, 4f), M Quinlivan 0-6 (3f), C Sweeney 0-5, J Keane 0-2, P Acheson, P Maher, P Austin 0-1 each. Derry: M Lynch 1-4 (0-3f), D Heavron 0-4, N Loughlin 0-3, E Brown 1-0, J Kielt 0-2 (1f), E Lynn, E Bradley, C Bradley, L McGoldrick 0-1 each.

Tipperary: E Comerford; C McDonald, A Campbell, J Feehan; B Maher, C O'Shaughnessy, R Kiely; P Acheson, G Hannigan; P Austin, J Keane, B Fox; K O'Halloran, M Quinlivan, C Sweeney. Subs: A Moloney for Hannigan (h-t); S Leahy for Kiely (68); M Hanley for O'Shaughnessy (74).

Derry: T Mallon; O Duffy, C McKaigue, C Mullan; K McKaigue, C McFaul, B Rogers; C McAtamney, N Holly; D Heavron, N Loughlin, E Lynn; J Kielt, E McGuckin, M Lynch. Subs: N Toner for Lynn (43mins), C Bradley for Kielt (50); E Bradley for Holly (51); L McGoldrick for Duffy (56); E Brown for McGuckin (62); N Forrester for Heavron (73).

Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo)

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