14-man Tipperary come from eight points down to easily defeat Pat Gilroy's Dublin
Tipperary 2-25 Dublin 0-20
Tipperary booked in for an Allianz hurling League semi-final clash with Limerick next weekend after overcoming a very slow start in Croke Park.
They also had to work off the handicap of being a man down for all of the second half after Ronan Maher was sent off on a second yellow card just before the interval.
They improvised sensibly without him, always keeping Dublin at bay while looking very much like a team that had a lot more in reserve if the occasion demanded. The pace and tempo dropped in the second half as Dublin bowed to the inevitable that their League journey was over.
It was all very different early on when the scores flowed at the rate of a point per minute for the opening 20 minutes, at which stage Dublin led 11-9. However, by then Tipperary were the happier side, having recovered from the slowest of starts.
Dublin, in contrast, sprinted from the starting blocks, firing over five points in the opening five minutes. Their lead was out to eight points (10-2) after 12 minutes, a period during which Tipperary looked completely switched off.
Their touch was poor, reactions slow and tackling sloppy, allowing Dublin to set up and take scorer quite easily.
However, all changed in the final 15 minutes of the half as Tipperary improved all over the pitch. Their strike rate increased dramatically and by half-time they were four points ahead, 1-15 to 0-14, the goal coming from John McGrath in the 26th minute.
It was easy from there on, leaving Dublin with plenty to ponder on.
Pat Gilroy, Anthony Cunningham and other strategists will now take the squad back to the training ground for what will be period of very hard work before they begin the new-look ‘round robin’ Leinster championship in May.
Tipperary will be similarly engaged in Munster but first there’s a League title to be fought for. And, after losing last year’s final heavily to Galway, a defeat that badly hit their confidence heading into the championship, they will be very determined to go all the way this time and win the title for the first time since 2008.
Tipperary: B Hogan; A Flynn (0-1), J Barry, M Cahill; B Heffernan (0-1), P Maher (0-1), P Feehan; S Kennedy (0-1), R Maher (0-2); S Curran (0-2), B McCarthy, J McGrath (1-4); M Breen (1-0), J Forde (0-9, 7f), C Darcy (0-2).
Subs: J O’Dwyer (0-2) for Darcy (45), P Maher for Kennedy (66), P Shanahan for Breen (68), T Hamill for Feehan (69), W Connors for McCarthy (72).
Dublin: A Nolan; P Smyth, B O’Carroll, E O’Donnell; J Madden, C Crummey, S Barrett (0-1); R McBride, F McGibb (0-2); D Burke (0-7, 6f,), C Keaney (0-3), D Sutcliffe (0-3); R Hayes, R O’Dwyer, P Winters (0-3).
Subs: F Whitely for Hayes (ht), R Mahon for O’Dwyer (42), D Kelly for Crummey (49),C Costello for Winters (55), F O Riain Broin (0-1f), for McBride (62).
Ref - S Cleere (Kilkenny)