Wednesday 29 March 2017

Route one to Forde pays off as Tipp dismantle Dublin

Tipperary 1-23 Dublin 0-12

Jackie Cahill

Dublin corner-forward Dotsy O’Callaghan has little room for manoeuvre as Tipperary’s Brendan Maher, left, and Michael Cahill close him down during Saturday night’s clash in Semple Stadium Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin corner-forward Dotsy O’Callaghan has little room for manoeuvre as Tipperary’s Brendan Maher, left, and Michael Cahill close him down during Saturday night’s clash in Semple Stadium Photo: Sportsfile
Noel McGrath, Tipperary, bursts through the Dublin defence Photo: Sportsfile
Conor Kenny, Tipperary, in action against Eoghan O'Donnell, Dublin Photo: Sportsfile

Shortly after taking charge of the Tipperary senior hurling team last autumn, Michael Ryan vowed to put his own stamp on things.

He indicated that Tipp would be more direct and more physical in their approach after the Premier County, while promising much under Eamon O'Shea, fell short in their quest for an All-Ireland title.

Tipp are notoriously slow starters in the League, but the early-season signs were wholly positive at Semple Stadium on Saturday night as the hosts dished out a 14-point hammering to Dublin in front of 5,105 shivering souls.

And yes, the route one approach was evident as the only goal of the game arrived from a long delivery, Jason Forde picking up breaking ball in the 13th minute before flashing a low drive past Conor Dooley.

Tipp led by 1-9 to 0-3 at half-time and could even afford the luxury of 10 first half wides, with long-range shooters encouraged to have a go.

Ryan went with two debutants - Dan McCormack and Daire Quinn - and the make-up of his starting team had New Stand patrons chatting before throw-in.

Tomás Hamill, who is still just 21, did well in the full-back position that could also be filled by James Barry, Michael Breen and, in emergency situations only, Pádraic Maher.

Impressed

Breen operated at midfield, where he's impressed in pre-season, with captain Brendan Maher at wing-back following last year's stint at centre-forward.

On the edge of the opposition square, Conor Kenny picked off three points and was an obvious outlet as Tipp managed to score freely despite missing Seamus Callanan.

Usually, Tipp will score plenty but the Achilles heel in recent times, most notably in last year's All-Ireland semi-final against Galway, has been the concession rate.

In this regard, Ryan will have been pleased with leaking just 12 points and keeping a 'clean sheet.'

He smiled when asked if his decision to forsake the Munster Senior League had been vindicated as any worries that Tipp might have been undercooked were comprehensively dismissed.

"Nobody's been proven anything!" Ryan insisted afterwards, playing it straight bat with reporters.

"It was just something we decided to do, to look after our own affairs in January.

"I wouldn't ready too much into it - next year we could well be back in that competition (Munster League)."

Ryan added: "I won't judge Dublin - I'll leave that to you guys. We came to compete.

"We've struggled with Dublin at this stage, too many times, and we were well aware that this was going to be a contest and that we'd have to play on the front foot to get a result here. We did and we're very pleased with that."

Dublin had won the Walsh Cup but it should also be noted that Tipp played Leinster opposition in the form of Offaly, Wexford and Laois in recent challenge games.

With the stakes much higher, Tipp collected just their second opening day League victory in seven seasons to complete a 26-point turnaround on Dublin when compared with last year's Parnell Park collapse.

"We've struggled with Dublin at this stage, too many times, and we were well aware that this was going to be a contest and that we'd have to play on the front foot to get a result here. We did and we're very pleased with that."

Off-colour

It was a night when Dublin laboured to do anything meaningful.

Free-taker Paul Ryan was off-colour and whipped off at half-time by manager Ger Cunningham, who reflected: "From our point of view, we would be looking at things we did in training.

"We didn't get a chance to do them tonight, or we weren't let do them.

"Maybe the conditions didn't allow us do them but look, it was a disappointing performance really.

"We were well beaten by a very good Tipperary team. So we've no complaints from that point of view.

"Just the things that we've been trying to do didn't work out tonight so we've got to go back to the training ground and work on it and see if we can get ready for next week."

It wasn't a night for "dilly-dallying" on the ball, Ryan noted, and this was conducive to Tipp's tactics.

Looking for areas where they can improve, the puck-out stats showed that Tipp lost more than they won (23/29) but as an exercise in blowing away some of the cobwebs, this was very much job done as Kilkenny lie in wait at Nowlan Park next Sunday.

For Dublin, however, their home fixture with Galway next time out already has the 'must-win' feel about it. Cunningham added: "We were thinking that we had a good pre season preparation. But this is a different level."

Scorers - Tipperary: J Forde 1-5, J McGrath 0-7 (5f), C Kenny & J O'Dwyer 0-3 each, Pádraic Maher & N McGrath 0-2 each, D Fitzelle 0-1. Dublin: D Treacy 0-3f, N McMorrow 0-2, D Plunkett, E Dillon, D O'Callaghan, P Ryan (f), M Schutte, D O'Connell & C Cronin 0-1 each.

Tipperary: D Gleeson 7; C Barrett 7, T Hamill 8, M Cahill 7; B Maher 7, J Barry 7, Pádraic Maher 8; M Breen 7, D Quinn 6; D McCormack 5, Patrick Maher 6, J Forde 8; N McGrath 7, C Kenny 7, J McGrath 7. Subs: D Fitzelle 7 for Patrick Maher (47), J Gallagher 6 for Breen (58), J O'Dwyer 8 for McCormack (58), J Meagher NR for B Maher (66), L Ryan NR for Quinn (67).

Dublin: C Dooley 7; J Boland 6, E O'Donnell 5, O Gough 7; C O'Callaghan 6, C Crummy 6, S Barrett 6; N McMorrow 7, J McCaffrey 6; D Plunkett 6, E Dillon 6, D Treacy 6; D O'Callaghan 6, P Ryan 5, M Schutte 6. Subs: C Cronin 7 for Ryan (h.t.), D O'Connell 7 for Plunkett (48), O O'Rorke 6 for O'Callaghan (59), F McGibb NR for McCaffrey (63)

Ref: C Lyons (Cork).

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