Friday 15 December 2017

Solace for Tipp as minors do enough

All-Ireland MHC semi-final: Tipperary 2-17 Dublin 1-15

Tipperary’s Thomas Nolan battles with Dublin pair Eoin Foley, left, and Cian Hendricken
Tipperary’s Thomas Nolan battles with Dublin pair Eoin Foley, left, and Cian Hendricken
Tommy Nolan, Tipperary, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal.
David Gleeson, Tipperary, in action against Conor Ryan, Dublin

Jackie Cahill

Liam Cahill's minors finished with a flourish to ensure that Tipperary will be represented on All-Ireland final day.

A strong final 10 minutes was good enough to see off Dublin's dogged resistance in the Electric Ireland All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park.

The sides were level at half-time, and again on four occasions during the second half, before Tipp pulled away.

Down the home straight, the Munster champions outscored their opponents by seven points to one and that was good enough to set up a clash with Galway on September 6.

Free-taker Lydon Fairbrother and Tommy Nolan bagged 1-10 between them, as Matthew Oliver hit 0-10 for Dublin.

Ciarán Dowling bagged four points from play for the Dubs and his 44th-minute score was arguably the best point of the game as his side worked the ball through the lines before the Lucan Sarsfields player provided the finishing touch.

But overall, Tipp were just that little bit slicker, as Dublin manager Johnny McGuirk acknowledged.

Their goals were sucker-punches at crucial times but Dublin rallied from five points down, 1-3 to 0-1, to make a real game of it.


David Gleeson netted for Tipp in the ninth minute and Dublin were exposed again seven minutes later.

Daire Gray was turned over by Alan Tynan and Cian Darcy placed Nolan for Tipp's second goal.

But Dublin refused to fold and Fergal Whitley's goal brought them right back into contention nine minutes before the break. And a strong finish from McGuirk's boys had Dublin level at the break at 1-9 to 2-6.

Dublin picked up where they left off in the early minutes of the second half, with scores from Alex Considine and Oliver (free) opening a two-point gap.

But Tipp were on terms with efforts from Fairbrother and Nolan before the lead switched hands in the next seven minutes, Tipp ahead twice before Dublin nosed in front.

Tipp then grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck with a run of six unanswered points to close the deal.

Fairbrother hit four of those, with influential substitute Ruadhan Mulrooney and Nolan also on target, before Oliver pointed a consolation free for Dublin.

Tipp had done enough and another sub, Shane Neville, put the icing on the cake with a delicious final point from the Hogan Stand side.

Cahill acknowledged: "A number of the switches we made in the last quarter paid dividends again and it's testament to the strength of the panel.

"That's what it's about, that's what we try to instil into these guys.

"There was a couple of very disappointed young men on Wednesday night when we announced the team.

"We knew coming up here that Dublin were going to push us all the way. "We've been in tight battles all year and we knew this would be no different.

"We weren't coming up here thinking that the game was going to be over at half-time. We went in level pegging, just like we'd planned for.

"They rolled up their sleeves in the last quarter and got over the line."

Dublin boss McGuirk conceded: "They were probably a wee bit sharper with the stick in areas, we fumbled a bit of ball at times but in fairness to the lads, they didn't lie down and kept battling away.

"We're disappointed. We felt we had a team good enough to win it."

Tipp will now go in search of a second All-Ireland minor crown in four seasons.

And Cahill smiled: "We got a Garda escort into the match.

"It's all about playing for Tipperary and the big time and when you come down through Dublin on a bus, with thousands of Tipperary supporters around you, it's something these guys have dreamed about since they were able to hurl at four, five, six or seven years of age."

Scorers - Tipperary: L Fairbrother 0-7 (4fs, 1 '65'), T Nolan 1-3, D Gleeson 1-0, R Mulrooney 0-2, D Carey, C Darcy, G Ryan, A Tynan, S Neville 0-1 each. Dublin: M Oliver 0-10 (7fs, 1 '65'), C Dowling 0-4, F Whitely 1-0, A Considine 0-1.

TIPPERARY - P Hayes; E Heffernan, E Moloney, J Quigley; K Hassett, B McGrath, D Peters; D Carey, L McCutcheon; C Darcy, G Ryan, A Tynan; T Nolan, D Gleeson, L Fairbrother. Subs: R Mulrooney for McCutcheon (25), M Connors for Gleeson (47), J Skehan for Darcy (47), S Neville for Ryan (60+1).

DUBLIN - E Skelly; C Hendricken, D Butler, C Ryan; E Foley, P Smyth, D Gray; M Oliver, C Sammon; E Conroy, M Maguire, C Dowling; F Whitley, A Considine, E Dunne. Subs: C O'Sullivan for Dunne (40), G King for Whitley (43), D Ryan for Gray (46), C Burke for O'Sullivan (59), S Hickey for Sammon (60).

Ref - P O'Dwyer (Carlow)

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