Pa Bourke scored 13 points to help Tipperary make a winning start to their 2012 campaign with a win over Limerick IT at Dolla yesterday.
The home side pulled away in the final stages, thanks to a Timmy Hammersley goal in the 63rd minute, to beat the college side who played the last 21 minutes with 14 men after centre-back and Tipperary defender John O'Keeffe was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Tipp manager Declan Ryan fielded a strong side to ensure progression to a quarter-final with the University of Limerick in two weeks time, with new captain Paul Curran leading the side from full-back and fellow 2011 All-Stars Michael Cahill and Padraic Maher also starting.
Senior debuts were handed to Donagh Maher and Adrian Ryan with Drom & Inch duo Johnny Ryan and David Collins appearing from the bench. Shane Maher also started at wing-back having opted off at the start of 2011.
Limerick IT who begin their Fitzgibbon Cup campaign against UL on Thursday week, made a blistering start and were 1-2 to the good inside five minutes, with the goal coming from Joe Canning. Despite finishing his sides' top-scorer with 1-8, the Galway star had a frustrating day from placed balls, missing four he would usually convert.
Limerick IT were lively early on with Paudie O'Brien, Paul Browne and Sean Collins to the fore as their short puck-out strategy caused Tipperary problems. Once the home side found their stride, they hit seven points without reply midway through the half with Pa Bourke the scorer-in-chief from placed balls.
Limerick IT were four points to the good after 14 minutes when Tipperary hit for their first goal though John O'Neill.
The score helped Tipp turn a four-point deficit into a six-point lead by the 24th minute with Shane McGrath, Adrian Ryan, O'Neill and Bourke getting good points from play. It stayed like that until half-time and was extended further through Bourke and the impressive Brendan Maher at midfield.
Despite O'Keeffe's loss, Limerick IT had cut the margin to five points. But Tipp sub Hammersley reacted quickest to a breaking ball in the square for Tipp's second goal to seal victory.
SCORERS -- Tipperary: P Bourke 0-13 (12fs) J O'Neill 1-1, T Hammersley 1-0, S McGrath 0-3, B Maher, A Ryan, B O'Meara 0-2 each, D Collins 0-1. Limerick IT: J Canning 1-8 (0-6fs), P Browne, S O'Brien, C McInerney (2fs), 0-2 each, E Ryan, C Madden, 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY -- D Gleeson; D Maher, P Curran, M Cahill; S Maher, J Coghlan, Padraic Maher; B Maher, J Woodlock; Patrick Maher, S McGrath, A Ryan; P Bourke, B O'Meara, J O'Neill. Subs: J Ryan for Woodlock (51); T Hammersley for O'Neill (60); D Collins for McGrath (62); C O'Brien for Cahill (66).
Limerick IT -- A Fahy; E Glynn, R McCarthy, B Glynn; O Whelan, J O'Keeffe, P O'Brien; P Browne, E Ryan; S O'Brien, S Collins, C Madden; C McInerney, J Canning, C O'Connell. Subs: J Hayes (Limerick) for Whelan (h-t); S Lambert (Galway) for Ryan (h-t); C Nelson for McInerney (63).
Ref -- J Sexton (Cork).