Tuesday 23 April 2019

Mattie Kenny's Dublin secure rare Semple Stadium win to beat Tipperary and book place in league semi-final


James Barry of Tipperary in action against Oisín O'Rourke of Dublin
James Barry of Tipperary in action against Oisín O'Rourke of Dublin

Conor McKeon

A rare victory in Semple Stadium and perhaps even a statement of of sorts from the Dublin hurlers in Thurles this afternoon.

Dublin beat Tipperary by a point in a match the home team never once led and a victory that puts Mattie Kenny's team into a League semi-final with All-Ireland champions, Limerick next weekend.

Progress had been steady for Dublin under the management of Mattie Kenny thus far but today's victory was significant in a number of ways.

Dublin arrived in Thurles after a quietly impressive Division 1B campaign but against the backdrop of a horrific recent record against Tipperary, particularly in Semple Stadium.

Their two most recent visits ended in 22 and 14 point defeats while the same ground had staged grim finales to the respective reigns of Ger Cunningham and Anthony Daly.

Here though, they had a goal within four minutes.

One of the few balls Eamonn Dillon won off Cathal Barrett in that half spilled kindly towards Oisín O'Rorke.

His shot under pressure was scuffed but both Dillon and Feargal Whitely were loitering close enough to ensure the ball was flicked to the net, with Dillon appearing to get the final touch the scramble.

Mostly, Dublin used a strong wind well in the half.

Seán Moran (two), Chris Crummey and Eoghan O'Donnell all scored points from 80 metres or more out.

Tipp meanwhile, couldn't quite calibrate their shooting.

The accuracy and sharpness so prominent in their play in Páirc Uí Chaoimh was curiously absent here.

Collectively, they hit nine first half wides, few of enough of which could be blamed on the breeze.

This might have been a surprise but it wasn't unheralded.

They led Tipperry by eight points in Croke Park last year at the same stage of this competition but lost by 11.

Kenny had words with referee Patrick Murphy as the teams retreated for half-time and though the source of the Dublin manager's ire wasn't clear, the free count – twelve/three in Tipp's favour – probably had something to do with it.

That four point lead was wiped within five minutes of the restart, with Jason Forde (two), Jake Morris and Noel McGrath brining Tipperary level.

Indeed they restored parity on three separate occasions in the second half but couldn't quite nose into a lead.

Dublin full-back Eoghan O'Donnell submitted a herculean performance while Dillon grew as the game went on and both Cian Boland and Paul Ryan contributed significantly off the bench.

And any momentum Tipperary generated quickly abated with another wide.

They finished with a stack of them – 18 in total – to Dublin's far more economic tally of just six.

They went level for the third time through substitute Mark Kehoe in the 67th minute but Dublin's newly-acquired habit of methodically thinking their way to victory was in evidence again here under intense pressure.

Seán Moran, immense all through, stepped up to land a '65 – his fifth point of the match from centre-back – before Ryan, in just his second appearance this spring, put Dublin two up.

Danny Sutcliffe was sent off for a second yellow card while Brendan Maher made his comeback from a cruciate ligament injury as a second half substitute but as far as things to cheer about the day, that was about it for Tipp.

Maher nailed a huge free to leave just one point between the teams but after a late Ronan Maher line ball sailed wide, time ran out and Dublin had their victory.

SCORERS – Dublin: E Dillon 1-3, S Moran 0-5 (3f, 1 '65), O O'Rorke 0- 5 (4f), C Boland, P Ryan 0-2 each, E O'Donnell, C Crummey, J Malone 0-1 each. Tipperary: J Forde 0-7 (6f), N McGrath 0-4 (1f), J Morris 0-3, M Kehoe, Callanan 0-2 each, R Maher, M Breen, N O'Meara, J McGrath, B Maher (f) 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: A Nolan; P Smyth, E O'Donnell, D Gray; D O'Connell, S Moran, C Crummey; R McBride, S Treacy; C Conway, D Sutcliffe, J Malone; F Whitely, O O'Rorke, E Dillon. Subs: C Boland for S Treacy h-t), J Hetherton for Conway (h-t), P Ryan for Whitely (56), R Hayes for Malone (61), D Treacy for O'Rorke (69 inj)

TIPPERARY: P Maher; C Barrett, J Barry, Joe O'Dwyer; R Maher, Pádraic Maher, R Byrne; N McGrath, M Breen; J McGrath, S Callanan, N O'Meara; John O'Dwyer, J Forde, J Morris. Subs: Patrick Maher for J McGrath (35), B Maher for Byrne (47), M Kehoe for John O'Dwyer (57), A Flynn for Breen (61), D Maher for N McGrath (73 inj)

REF: P Murphy (Carlow)

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