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Tipp run riot as Dubs fall short

A DOMINANT first-half display helped Tipperary cruise to an emphatic 10-point win over a lethargic Dublin in a disappointingly one-sided Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Final Replay at Croke Park yesterday afternoon.

The concern in Dublin quarters leading up to the replay was that the Premier County would display the form that punctuated their provincial campaign and semi-final win over Galway and so it proved as they gained supremacy from the early exchanges.

Tipperary's fortunes were in marked contrast to that of their opponents who produced an error-strewn and untidy display and it would be amiss not to recognise the toll that the minor footballers' campaign had on their indifferent performance yesterday.

The solidity and understanding that had been a vital component in Dublin's excellent defensive display in the drawn game all but evaporated as Tipperary exposed the alarming naivety down the heart of their opponents' rearguard.

Time and again, a massive canyon appeared down the spine of the Dublin defence with the Sky Blues slightly fortunate not to concede more than the two goals that Tipperary registered in the opening half through Mark McCarthy and Tadhg Gallagher.

However, the unease in Dublin's play was reflected throughout the field with Colm Cronin and Donal Gormley struggling to influence the play from centrefield, leaving their forward line starved of supply for large parts of the game.

Despite Paul Winters opening the scoring through a free in the first minute, it soon became evident that Tipperary's attack were functioning at a far higher level and a brace of frees from the impeccable John McGrath soon handed them the lead. Although Eoghan O'Donnell restored parity with a point to match the quality of that in the drawn game, Dublin's unease was punished in the ninth minute as McCarthy outpaced Eric Lowndes from 40 metres with an emphatic finish to the net beyond Cian Mac Gabhann from close range the inevitable result.

The Munster men were picking up all the loose pieces around the middle third at this juncture although a sporadic period of Dublin dominance saw late replacement James Roche add a brace of points to reduce his side's deficit.

It never looked likely to be sufficient however as Tipperary cut large swathes through the middle and in the 14th minute, Gallagher was allowed the freedom of Dublin 3 to race unopposed and fire a measured shot low to Mac Gabhann's left.

Dublin's sole response for the remainder of the half was an 18th-minute free from Winters and their situation turned from critical to terminal as they conceded further scores to McGrath, Stephen Cahill and McCarthy to trail by 2-10 to 0-5 at the interval.

The second-half was slightly more competitive with Dublin improving in their half-back line as the tireless Seán McClelland instigated numerous clearances but there was scant reward on the scoreboard apart from a Cormac Costello point and three frees from Winters.

At the opposite end of the pitch, Tipperary's clinical nature was reflected in a wide tally of just four over the hour and they added to their lead through two glorious points from the impressive Gallagher by the 43rd minute.

To Dublin's credit, the fight was maintained with Gormley a more positive presence and an Oisín O'Rorke goal in the 52nd minute after a brave run from Cronin was the least the Dubs merited for an improved second-half showing.

Further half-chances arrived as Tipperary ceded territory but in keeping with their struggles up to that point, Dublin were unable to take full advantage with two late frees from the accomplished McGrath, taking his personal tally to 0-10, a telling endnote to a depressing day in the capital.