Tipp see off young Dubs to give Cunningham a reality check
Tipperary 1-24 Dublin 1-8
It feels like it happened in a different century, but two seasons ago Dublin whipped Tipperary by 12 points in a league tie at Parnell Park. Since then, the trajectory of the two teams has diverged dramatically. In the corresponding league fixture last spring in Thurles, Tipperary won by 14 points, while the margin in Croke Park last night was 16 points.
In their first competitive outing since their memorable 2016 All-Ireland final success over Kilkenny last September, Tipperary crushed an even more inexperienced Dublin team.
With the Cuala players' absence due to their involvement in the All-Ireland club series and other former squad members opting out, Dublin boss Ger Cunningham has had little option but to introduce fresh faces. Dublin included three of last year's minor side, Paddy Smyth, Cian O'Sullivan and Paddy Burke, in their side, while dual player Steven O'Brien and corner-forward Aidan McCormack started their first competitive match for the visitors and made it a memorable one, McCormack hitting 0-5 from play.
Tipp carved open the Dublin full-back line after three minutes when a handpass from 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer put All-Star Seamus Callanan through, but Shane Barrett blocked his shot and goalkeeper Gary Maguire saved Callanan's second effort.
Dublin did look sharper side in the early exchanges, moving into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after ten minutes. A lack of a killer instinct became more evident in the 15th minute when Cian O'Sullivan dropped the sliotar after being put through on goal by Donal Burke. Tipp improved in the second quarter, ending a 12-minute scoring famine with two points in 90 seconds before Aidan McCormack levelled the contest with his second point.
Donal Burke missed two long-range frees for Dublin as their scoring came to a standstill. At the other end, a brace of Callanan frees gave Tipp the lead for the first time before Niall McMorrow ended Dublin's 17-minute scoreless spell with a brilliant point from distance.
New Tipp captain Pádraic Maher equalled that effort with a point from distance as Tipp started to turn the screw and by half-time the All-Ireland title holders led by five points (0-11 to 0-6).
There was no discernible change to the pattern of the game in the third quarter - Tipp simply won all the so-called 'rucks' for possession and by the 42nd minute it was 0-14 to 0-7.
It was getting embarrassingly one-sided and by the time Seamus Callanan was replaced in the 55th minute, he had converted eight frees. It got worse for Dublin soon afterwards when Jason Forde strolled through the right side of their defence and beat Gary Maguire to give his side a 16-point advantage.
By now, both teams had started to empty the bench and Dublin's only respite came when substitute Eamon Dillon scored a goal ten minutes from the end after a deft cross from Burke. Dublin defender Shane Barrett was red-carded in injury time after picking up his second yellow card.
But Dubs face a huge battle to keep their place in Division 1A
Scorers - Tipperary: S Callanan 0-8 (8f), A McCormack 0-5, Jason Forde 1-3, P Maher 0-2; K Bergin, T Hamill, N McGrath, J O'Dwyer (f), S Curran, N O'Meara 0-1 each. Dublin: E Dillon 1-0, D Burke 0-3 (3f), N McMorrow 0-2, C Crummey, O O'Rorke, F McGibb 0-1 each.
Dublin: G Maguire; P Smyth, E O'Donnell, S Barrett; C Crummey, L Rushe, S McGrath; B Quinn, D Fox; C O'Sullivan, N McMorrow). R O'Dwyer; O O'Rorke, D Burke, F McGibb. Subs: J Madden for McGrath (42); E Dillon for O'Sullivan (46); L McBride for Fox (50); C Conway for O'Rorke (55), A Quinn for McGibb (63).
Tipperary: D Mooney; D Maher, J Barry, J O'Keeffe; T Hamill, R Maher, P Maher; B Maher, K Bergin; S O'Brien, Jason Forde, N McGrath; J O'Dwyer, S Callanan, A McCormack. Subs: M Cahill for O'Keeffe (51); S Curran for O'Brien (54); N O'Meara for Callanan (54); B Heffernan for R Maher (56), D Quinn for P Maher (59).
Referee: P O'Dwyer (Carlow)
Sunday Indo Sport