Tipperary’s stride quickens. The All-Ireland champions found some of their native strut in Thurles last night but context was everything. Far, far tougher days lie ahead but at least now they take form with them towards September.
Where Mick Ryan’s team were listless and uninspiring against Westmeath last weekend in Thurles, they were clinical and ruthless, creative and sharp against Dublin.
Seamus Callanan, a man thought to be under pressure for his starting position during the week, scored 3-11 (3-4 from play).
If he was only marginally better calibrated, he could have bagged a couple more goals too. John McGrath, who didn’t start against Westmeath, scored 2-2.
Their movement and interplay in the first half was a joy to witness and a warning shot to those with designs on succeeding them as All-Ireland champions.
Indeed, goalkeeper Conor Dooley was one of Dublin’s better performers, making three impressive saves with his body.
Tipp put paid to any notions of an upset by pole-axing Dublin with four first-half goals, their inside marksmen enjoying the space afforded them in Semple Stadium.
Mostly, Tipp went long and backed their inside men to beat Dublin’s full-back line, who were left scandalously exposed.
Callanan struck Tipp’s first goal after just eight minutes but fluffed his lines on a couple of occasions when a better touch would have generated another crack at Dooley’s line.
Cian O’Sullivan, in just his second championship start for Dublin, rounded three men and finished to the net in 15th minute to briefly draw the sides level but that was about as good as it got for Ger Cunningham’s men.
In a summer of odd turbulence, Tipperary can at least be thankful for the luck of the draw. Dublin arrived to Thurles not fully sure how relevant their blitzing of Laois last Saturday had been.
heir evening was a complete disaster. Coming in a season featuring relegation from Division 1A and a tanning from Galway in Leinster, this should surely be too much for manager Cunningham to survive.
Cunningham decided to drop Donal Burke back as a sweeper, but not until Tipperary’s fourth goal had been registered.
McGrath netted Tipp’s second after yet another high ball broke close to the Dublin goal and his finish in the 22nd minute may have been the best score of the lot. Callanan dispossessed Shane Barrett and crossed to the younger McGrath brother, who instinctively flicked the ball past Dooley.
After 32 minutes, Tipp got in again. This time, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher bundled through the centre of the Dublin defence and found Callanan.
On a day when his performance mattered hugely, Callanan can be hugely grateful for the silver service from ‘Bonner’ Maher and John McGrath in particular.
At 4-11 to 1-10, Tipp were home and hosed at half-time but just to make sure, Michael Breen ran 60 yards and slammed their fifth goal with the first play of the second period.
Thereafter, Tipp resorted to torturing Dublin with long-range points as they ran their bench.
It hasn’t been the most conventional route to the All-Ireland quarter-final for the champions but they may be better for having made the trip.
Scorers – Tipperary: S Callanan 3-11 (0-7f), J McGrath 2-2, John O’Dwyer, J Forde 0-4, M Breen 1-0, S O’Brien 0-2, D McCormack, Páidi Maher, B Maher 0-1 each. Dublin: D Treacy 0-11 (8f), C O’Sullivan 1-1, R O’Dwyer, L Rushe 0-2 each, D O’Callaghan, C Crummey, R McBride 0-1 each.
Tipperary: D Gleeson; J Barry, T Hamill, D Maher; Joe O’Dwyer, R Maher, Pádraic Maher; B Maher, M Breen; J Forde, Patrick Maher, D McCormack; J McGrath, S Callanan, John O’Dwyer. Subs: S Kennedy for R Maher (45), N McGrath for McCormack (50), S O’Brien for B Maher (50), M Cahill for D Maher (55), T Fox for Pádraic Maher (65).
Dublin: C Dooley; C O’Callaghan, E O’Donnell, F Ó Riain Broin; S Barrett, C Crummey, S Moran; B Quinn, N McMorrow; D Treacy, L Rushe, E Dillon; C O’Sullivan, R O’Dwyer, D Burke. Subs: J Madden for Barrett (24 inj), F Whitely for McMorrow (h-t), D O’Callaghan for Burke (h-t), T Connolly for Moran (56), R McBride for Treacy (58).
Referee: A Kelly (Galway)
Sunday Indo Sport