Wednesday 29 January 2020

Young shines as Tipp rise off ropes


DAMIAN LAWLOR at Semple Stadium

THEY may not yet look capable of delivering a knockout punch to the likes of Kilkenny but Tipperary hurling pulled itself off the ropes with a demolition of Wexford yesterday.

They bossed this first-phase qualifier from start to finish and although the fare had all the appearances of a lazy Saturday afternoon challenge, Tipperary at least bounced back from the Pairc Ui Chaoimh debacle at the end of May.

And the form of championship debutant David Young will have heartened the county's fans. The young Toomevara wing-back gave a classy display at right half-back, out-hurling three opponents and knocking over three points from play.

"We expected a tough game from Wexford and we prepared for that. But the main thing is that we're through to the next round and we have to drive on from here. There was a lot of talk that Tipp were gone but you don't listen to that and we showed today that we're still in the race," said Young.

Liam Sheedy admitted the clash lacked tempo, but emphasised it was important to bounce back. "It didn't look like a championship game," he said, "and we made a lot of basic errors ourselves and didn't hit the right tempo in stages either. We have a lot of work to do to lift it for the next game, but I'm delighted that we've won. Coming back from the Cork game wasn't easy and the intensity wasn't great out there but we won and I'm happy with that. But we've an awful lot to work on."

There's no disguising the fact, either, that it was another bad day for Wexford hurling, although there is little point in calling for the head of Colm Bonnar. He simply doesn't have the tools at his disposal. "My two-year term is up now," Bonnar said, "so we'll have to sit down with the county board now and chat about what's next."

With a poor enough crowd of 10,927, there was a lack of championship cut. Tipp just did what they had to do and will take heart from being back in the race for September glory. Another win or two and who knows what could happen?

After losing their full-back Declan Fanning to a nasty looking ear injury after just two minutes, they could have panicked -- especially in the wake of Aisake O hAilpin's destruction of their full-back line at the end of May. Stephen Banville was duly booked for a poor challenge on the Killenaule man.

But the experienced Paul Curran came on in Fanning's place, settled in quickly and did what he needed to do with any of the ball that came his way. Curran initially came on as a blood sub but stayed at the edge of the square for the rest of the match. Tipp subsequently brought on five other subs.

With the team leading 0-15 to 0-7 at the break and all of the Tipp forwards raising flags, they could afford to give the squad a work-out, especially after a brace of Corbett goals upon the restart settled the issue.

With 20 minutes to go, the home side were cruising 2-18 to 0-10 as the visiting defence imploded. From there, the game petered out. Wexford made a stack of replacements in a bid to stem the tide and Tipp kept firm at the back and simply tapped over their points when they had to.

It was enough to see them home. This was shadow boxing, but you can only beat what's in front of you.

Scorers -- Tipperary: E Kelly 0-8 (3f, 2 65s), L Corbett 2-3, G Ryan 0-4, D Egan 1-0, D Young, N McGrath (1f) 0-3 each, P Maher 0-2, S Callanan 0-1; Wexford: H Kehoe, R Jacob, C Farrell, J Berry (0-1f) 0-3 each, P Atkinson, T Mahon, S Banville 0-2 each, D Stamp 0-1

Tipperary: B Cummins; M Cahill, D Fanning, C O'Brien; D Young, C O'Mahony, P Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan, S Callanan, P Maher; N McGrath, L Corbett, E Kelly. Subs: P Curran for D Fanning (2, inj, blood sub), J O'Brien for S Callanan (50), S Hennessy for E Kelly (57), D Egan for S McGrath (63), S Maher for B Maher (67), M Heffernan for G Ryan (69)

Wexford: N Carton; K Rossiter, C Kenny, P Roche; R Kehoe, D Stamp, D Redmond; C Farrell, H Kehoe; P Atkinson, T Waters, E Quigley; R Jacob, S Banville, T Mahon Subs: L Prendergast for E Quigley (h-t), J Berry for P Atkinson (42), M Jacob for S Banville (50), T Dwyer for D Redmond (50), B Kenny for P Roche (65)

Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath)

Sunday Independent

The Left Wing: Ireland's Six Nations target, a French revival and Ian Madigan's future

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport