Jason Forde wreaks havoc as Tipperary easily account for Dublin
Tipperary 1-23 Dublin 0-12
Another new era for Tipperary hurling began with a predictable home win against Dublin in the first round of the Allianz Hurling league tonight in Semple Stadium.
Given that Dublin hadn't beaten the Premier County on Tipperary soil since the end of the second World War new boss Michael Ryan could hardly afford to lose this one. And he didn't.
Even though this was Tipperary's first competitive game in 2016 the players responded to the challenge on a sodden surface in Thurles.
Jason Forde tormented the Dublin defence hitting an impressive 1-5 from play while John McGrath – a younger brother of Noel McGrath – hit 0-7 – five of his points coming from frees.
In contrast apart from David Treacy who converted three frees and only other Dublin player to hit more than a single point was midfielder Niall McMorrow. Ger Cunningham faces a big task in the weeks ahead if the Dubs are to be trophy contenders in 2016
Tipperary introduced two newcomers, Daire Quinn and Dan McCormack at midfield and wing forward respectively while Noel McGrath was making his first start since recovering from testicular cancer.
Newly crowned Walsh Cup holders, Dublin featured newcomer Eoghan O'Donnell at full back in the absence of the suspended Liam Rush, while goalkeeper Conor Dooley was making his debut in the competition – he had come on a substitute in the Leinster championship last year.
Dooley – who previously played in goal on the Ballyboden St Enda's football side - was called into action after just 40 seconds when he saved brilliantly from John McGrath.
The home side dominated the early exchanges but after Conor Kenny had opened their account they hit five wides on the spin including a 30 metre free from John McGrath.
At the other end Dublin lobbed three shots short into the hands of Tipp goalkeeper Darren Gleeson before Paul Ryan finally opened their account with a tenth minute free, though he missed a straight forward effort a couple of minutes later.
Straight from the puck out the sliotar broke to Jason Forde who waltzed through the Dublin defence and fired past Dooley.
The visitors were fortunate not to concede another immediately afterwards when Conor Kenny eluded rook full back O'Donnell but his rasping shot cleared the crossbar.
By the end of the first quarter Tipp were 1-4 to 0-2 ahead but their wides tally continued to mount. On a sticky surface mistake abounded with players finding it difficult to lift the ball.
Forde though continued to torment Cian O'Callaghan on the flanks and by half time had scored 1-3 from play as the home side led by 9 (1-9 to 0-3). Even the scoreline didn't fully illustrate Tipp's control as they also accumulated ten wides compared to two for Dublin.
Free taker Paul Ryan was responsible for that brace and the visitors' first half woes were illustrated just before the break when Ryan mis-hit a 20m free – he was replaced at the break.
Their forwards were making no impact against a Tipp defence in which their half back line of the Maher's Brendan and Padraic together with James Barry were outstanding.
Dublin improved significantly in the third quarter hitting three points from play with just a solitary reply from the home side. But while the visitors look likely and were far more productive in front of the post than in the first period Tipp managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Still, when Dublin reduced the margin to seven points by the 53rd minute there were ripples of discontent from the home fans. But sensing their discontent Tipp went into overdrive hitting six on the spin to the the game as a contest.
John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer marked his return to inter county action with three trademark long range points after his introduction in the 58th minute.
A satisfactory work out for Tipperary – who opted not to play in the Munster senior league – before their visit to Nowlan Park next Sunday to take on the All-Ireland champions Kilkenny. Needless to say the Cats will present an altogether different challenge.
But even at this stage of the season next Sunday's match against Galway at Parnell Park is a must win fixture for Dublin if they are to avoid being involved in the relegation play off later in the spring.
Losing to Tipp by 14 points was not the way they would have wished the season to start.
The official attendance was 5,105.
Tipperary: D Gleeson; C Barrett, T Hamill, M Cahill; B Maher, J Barry, Padraic Maher (0-2); M Breen, D Quinn; D McCormack, Patrick Maher, J Forde (1-5); N McGrath (0-2), C Kenny (0-3), J McGrath (0-7, 5f). Subs: D Fitzelle (0-1) for Patrick Maher 46m, J Gallagher for Breen 56m; J O'Dwyer (0-3) for McCormack 58m, F McGibb for McCaffrey 63m; J Meagher for B Maher 66m.L Ryan for Quinn 67m
Dublin: C Dooley; J Boland, E O'Donnell, O Gough; C Crummey, C O'Callaghan, S Barrett; N McMorrow (0-2), J McCaffrey; D Plunkett (0-1) E Dillon (0-1), D Treacy (0-3, 3f); D O'Callaghan (0-1) P Ryan (0-1, 1f), M Schutte (0-1). Subs: C Cronin (0-1) for Ryan ht; D O Connell (0-1) for Plunkett 48m; O O'Rourke for O'Callaghan 56m
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)