Down finally claim qualifier victory but defeat prompts Liam Kearns' resignation as Tipp boss
Down 1-13 Tipperary 1-10
PADDY TALLY’s Down waited five long seasons for a Round 1 qualifier victory, but the home side got the job done in a dramatic finale at Páirc Esler yesterday that prompted Tipp boss Liam Kearns to announce his resignation.
Kearns spent four years at the helm and brought Tipp to an All-Ireland semi-final in his first season.
“I’m four years here, there might have been one more year in it, but I felt after the results this year that it was time,” he said.
“I felt we had to go and win two to three rounds of the qualifiers if I was going to justify staying on.”
Trailing by an Philip Austin goal at the break, Down rallied in the second period. Donal O’Hare’s goal ignited the turnaround with 10 minutes to play, along with a dazzling three-point cameo from substitute Cory Quinn.
“It is exciting anyway, we don’t do things easy around here,” Tally, in his first season in charge, laughed.
“I knew it was going to be very hard. These qualifier games are like that, you’ll see a lot of qualifier games over the next few days, especially this round coming in. These games are cagey affairs.
“Both teams know that this is the last chance saloon really for the year.”
“So nerves, maybe taking the wrong options, forcing things that weren’t on, but I think in the second-half we were more composed.
“That comes when the players come off the bench too, they made a big difference. They showed a greater desire to win the game.”
Tally’s bench contributed to five points in that defining finish alone and he was enthused about the next round of the qualifiers.
“We’re learning about our players and they are learning about how we do things as well.
“The Ulster Championship is fantastic and now we’re into the qualifiers and this is what Championship football is about. A good tight game, you want players to experience that as well so I think we’re all learning. That’s the key.”
Scorers – Down: P Havern and C Quinn 0-3 each, D O’Hare 1-0, C Harrison 0-2, J Johnstone, R Burns (145), B O’Hagan, P Devlin and D O’Hagan 0-1 each. Tipperary: C Sweeney 0-4 (4f), P Austin 1-1, L McGrath 0-2, M Quinlavin, J Kennedy (145) and L Casey 0-1 each
DOWN – R Burns 7; D O’Hagan 8, B McArdle 7, G Collins 7; R McAleenan 6, K McKernan 6, D Guinness 6; J Flynn 6, C Poland 5; C Francis 6, P Havern 8, J Guinness 6; J Johnston 6, D O’Hare 6 , C Harrison 6. Subs: P Devlin 6 for C Poland (25), O McCabe 6 for D Guinness (h-t), P Laverty 6 for J Guinness (37) C Quinn 9 for J Johnstone (37), B O’Hagan 7 for Havern (57), C Maginn 6 for D O’Hare (70).
TIPPERARY – E Comerford 6; A Campbell 7, J Meagher 6, S O’Connell 6; D Brennan 6, R Kiely 6, E Moloney 6; Steven O’Brien 6, J Kennedy 7; J Keane 6, P Austin 7, B Fox 7; C Sweeney 7, M Quinlavin 5, L McGrath 6. Subs: B Maher 6 for L McGrath (56), L Casey 7 for J Kennedy (58), K Fahey 6 for E Moloney (62), L Boland 6 for P Austin (65), P Maher 6 for J Keane (69).
REF – F Kelly (Longford)