Sunday 22 October 2017

Cunningham's Dublin reign ends in chaos as Tipp shine

Tipperary 6-26 Dublin 1-19 SHC Round 2 Qualifier

Dublin manager Ger Cunningham (left) shakes hands with his opposite number Michael Ryan as Tipperary marched into the quarter-finals. Photo: RAY MCMANUS/SPORTSFILE
Dublin manager Ger Cunningham (left) shakes hands with his opposite number Michael Ryan as Tipperary marched into the quarter-finals. Photo: RAY MCMANUS/SPORTSFILE

Jackie Cahill

It was a tale of two managers in Thurles: Ger Cunningham all but confirming the end of his stormy three-year term in Dublin, as his Tipperary counterpart Michael Ryan expressed satisfaction with growing momentum.

Tipp, the All-Ireland champions, haven't gone away you know.

As an exercise in gaining some badly-needed confidence, this was a good outing.

Dublin didn't help themselves with their set-up, opting not to go with an extra man at the back, but they defended dismally.

Even some of the basics were beyond them as Tipp ran riot and won by 22 points to book their place in Cork for a quarter-final place in less than a fortnight.

"Shell shocked" was Cunningham's feeling at full-time. His departure will be confirmed in the coming days, if not before, but Tipp march on with a spring in their step.

Dublin's Fergal Whitely is tackled by Tom Fox. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Dublin's Fergal Whitely is tackled by Tom Fox. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Moments

Dublin had their good moments, though, particularly in the first-half when Cian O'Sullivan cut through for a goal, while they could have at least one more.

And Cunningham was right in his post-match assertion that much of the damage was self-inflicted.

Still, and for all concerned, a parting of the ways seems best at this point. Even a defender rated as one of the best in the country in his position, full-back Eoghan O'Donnell, suffered badly, as Seamus Callanan ran riot.

Dublin goalkeeper Conor Dooley saves a shot from point blank range from Dan McCormack. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Dublin goalkeeper Conor Dooley saves a shot from point blank range from Dan McCormack. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

It was unfortunate for Dublin that Callanan, John McGrath and the irrepressible John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer picked this Saturday afternoon to rekindle some of their best form.

By the end, Callanan had 3-11, including 3-4 from play, John McGrath had 2-2 and O'Dwyer 0-4.

Further back, Tipp skipper Pádraic Maher played a Tom Brady role from deep and the quality of regular ball inside was high.

The writing was on the wall early, as Callanan had 1-3 posted inside eight minutes. He scooted away from O'Donnell for an eighth-minute goal and while O'Sullivan's 15th-minute effort had Dublin level at 1-4 each, that was as good as it got.

McGrath struck twice before half-time, while Callanan raised another green flag as Tipp opened up a 4-11 to 1-10 interval lead.

Ryan O'Dwyer is chased down by Tipperary's Tomás Hamill. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Ryan O'Dwyer is chased down by Tipperary's Tomás Hamill. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

"We were contemplating shoring it up for the first 10 minutes of the second-half, but we felt that wasn't the message to give, we felt we had to attack and try to get back into the game," said Cunningham.

However, 19 seconds after the restart Mikey Breen had Tipp's fifth goal, before O'Dwyer, who could have gone himself, unselfishly set up Callanan for his hat-trick in the final minute.

David Treacy kept the flag - and white flags - flying for Dublin, but he was curiously whipped off late on.

It didn't matter to the end result, of course, and Cunningham appeared to accept what's coming next.

John McGrath puts away Tipperary's second goal of the game. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
John McGrath puts away Tipperary's second goal of the game. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

"My term is up, it's time now just to chat in relation to the game, how it panned out," he said.

"We hadn't expected that in any shape or form. I'm still kind of shell shocked on the game. We'll reflect on that and see where we go."

There doesn't appear to be any room for manoeuvre, though.

Cuala's All-Ireland club winning manager Mattie Kenny has been touted as a possible replacement, while the names of former manager Anthony Daly and current Waterford boss Derek McGrath have also been mentioned for the role.

Ryan, meanwhile, was asked about the performance of his forward line and nodded with satisfaction.

"These guys are very potent," he reflected. That's an unfortunate scoreline against Dublin, to be honest. Does it flatter us, to be honest?

"Look, it really doesn't matter at the end of the day - we just wanted to get these guys into the groove again, get them play hurling and become a little bit more ruthless. They showed glimpses of that out there today."

That they did. Tipperary are still a force.

Scorers - Tipperary: S Callanan 3-11 (0-7f), J McGrath 2-2, M Breen 1-0, J Forde & John O'Dwyer 0-4 each, S O'Brien 0-2, Pádraic Maher, B Maher & D McCormack 0-1 each.

Dublin: D Treacy 0-11 (8f), C O'Sullivan 1-1, L Rushe & R O'Dwyer 0-2 each, C Crummey, D O'Callaghan & R McBride 0-1 each.

Tipperary - D Gleeson 6; D Maher 7, T Hamill 6, J Barry 6; Joe O'Dwyer 7, R Maher 7, Pádraic Maher 8; B Maher 7, M Breen 7; J Forde 8, Patrick Maher 7, D McCormack 7; John O'Dwyer 8, S Callanan 9, J McGrath 8. Subs: S Kennedy 6 for R Maher (45), N McGrath 6 for B Maher (49), S O'Brien 7 for D McCormack (49), M Cahill 7 for D Maher (56), T Fox NR for Pádraic Maher (66).

Dublin - C Dooley 6; C O'Callaghan 5, E O'Donnell 5, F Ó Riain Broin 5; S Barrett 4, C Crummey 6, S Moran 5; B Quinn 5, N McMorrow 5; D Treacy 7, L Rushe 6, E Dillon 5; C O'Sullivan 7, R O'Dwyer 7, D Burke 4. Subs: J Madden 5 for Barrett (24), F Whitely 5 for McMorrow (h.t.), D O'Callaghan 6 for Burke (h.t.), T Connolly 5 for Moran (50), R McBride 6 for Treacy (58).

Ref - A Kelly (Galway).

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