Ryan warns under-performing Tipp stars that no player's position is safe
Tipperary 2-18 Westmeath 0-15
Tipperary manager Michael Ryan had a clear message for his under-performing All-Ireland champions following Saturday's dismal outing against Westmeath in round one of the qualifiers.
Tipp stuttered to a nine-point victory over the dogged Lake County, registering 16 wides to pockmark a sloppy display.
Six weeks on from losing to Cork in the Munster quarter-final, Tipp's attempt to get the show back on the road was a less than encouraging audition ahead of a clash with Dublin, Kilkenny or Waterford next Saturday.
In an attempt to draw a response from his team, Ryan made six changes to the starting team that lined out against Cork, and warned that there may be more to come next Saturday.
Westmeath, with Tommy Doyle sensational at full-back, were just three points down with 17 minutes left when Tipp's debutant goalkeeper Daragh Mooney kept out Cormac Boyle, to deny him the goal would have levelled matters for the visitors in front of 6,893 spectators.
Tipp kicked on to lead by 11 points but Westmeath kept the end margin to nine, their single-figure defeat a wholly acceptable result particularly six days after the county's footballers lost by 31 against Dublin.
Goals in either half from John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer and John McGrath got Tipp over the line but Westmeath scored the opening two points of the game - and hit five-in-a-row approaching half-time as the hosts went 18 minutes without raising a flag.
Tipp were 1-10 to 0-9 clear at half-time but struggled all through and will want to move on from this quickly.
They also lost Niall O'Meara to a potentially season-ending ankle injury in the second half, as the Kilruane MacDonaghs player was stretchered off.
Ryan hauled off Michael Breen and Seamus Callanan early in the second half and warned that nobody's position is safe.
He said: "There's still positions up for grabs on this team and we're absolutely encouraging the competition, as you can see.
"We made changes there early in the second half and it continued right throughout the game.
"Look, we came here to win, there's no other prize on offer bar a place in the bowl on Monday morning.
"That's mission accomplished but loads to do.
"Some of the performances were below par and when performances are below par, you open the door to competition. A healthy thing, as far as I'm concerned."
Having completed his third year in charge of Westmeath, their manager Michael Ryan predicted further progress, with a caveat.
He said: "As long as we don't spend the rest of our lives talking about today, and congratulating ourselves about today."
Scorers - Tipperary: John O'Dwyer 1-3 (0-1f), S Callanan 0-5 (4f, 1 '65), J McGrath 1-1, N McGrath, N O'Meara & J Forde 0-2 each, R Maher, B Maher & Patrick Maher 0-1 each. Westmeath: A Devine 0-6 (4f), P Greville (1f) & K Doyle 0-2 each, A Clarke, R Greville, D McNicholas, N O'Brien & C Boyle 0-1 each.
Tipperary - D Mooney 7; J Barry 6, T Hamill 6, D Maher 7; Joe O'Dwyer 7, R Maher 5, Pádraic Maher 6; B Maher 6, N McGrath 7; D McCormack 6, Patrick Maher 7, M Breen 5; John O'Dwyer 6, S Callanan 5, N O'Meara 7. Subs: J Forde 7 for Breen (44), J McGrath 7 for Callanan (45), A McCormack 6 for O'Meara (60), S O'Brien 6 for Patrick Maher (64), T Fox NR for Pádraic Maher (68).
Westmeath - P Carroll 7; S Power 7, T Doyle 9, G Greville 7; A Craig 7, P Greville 7, L Varley 6; A Clarke 8, R Greville 7; J Boyle 5, K Doyle 7, D McNicholas 6; A Devine 7, N Mitchell 6, N O'Brien 6. Subs: C Boyle 7 for J Boyle (21), B Murtagh 6 for McNicholas (64), D Egerton 6 for O'Brien (66), J Galvin NR for C Boyle (69), C Shaw NR for Varley (70+1).
Ref - P O'Dwyer (Carlow).