Late Tipperary charge falls just short as Dublin show battling qualities to maintain unbeaten record
Dublin 2-16 Tipperary 0-21
Dublin withstood a sustained period of late pressure from Tipperary to claim a rare and memorable win in Thurles, despite failing to score for the last 13 minutes when facing a strong wind.
Roared on by the home crowd, and boosted by the second half introduction of the McGrath brothers, Tipperary scored four points without reply in the run-in after Donal Burke raised Dublin’s last flag in the 60th.
Dublin had to dig deep to preserve their unbeaten record and in the last few seconds survived a serious scare when Jason Forde had a goal chance but couldn’t get clean contact after Noel McGrath’s free from long range.
Donal Burke scored nine points, with one from play, and there were goals in each half from Rian McBride and Ronan Hayes. Those goals were crucial in pulling off their win, as Forde ended up with 0-12, all from frees with the exception of one from a sideline.
A strong wind gusted down the field towards the Killinan End and brought frequent spells of rain, making this a battle with the elements. Dublin faced it in the first half and managed better, their Achilles heel being their finishing. They hit 11 wides in the first half alone although the wind made shooting hazardous.
Tipperary had only five wides in the same time period and after a bright enough start with Dan McCormack making himself busy, they struggled to win clean possession on their own puck-out. Jake Morris, Michael Breen and Paul Flynn stroked over neat scores, and Robbie Byrne landed two excellent points from long distance. The rest came from Forde frees and a sideline.
Seamus Callanan, the four-time All Star, made his first start of the season, one of eight changes to the team that defeated Kilkenny a fortnight ago. Callanan struggled to make any headway on Eoghan O’Donnell, and was later replaced having failed to score. With Paddy Smyth also doing well at centre back, Dublin stoutly defended their goal with O’Donnell alert in thieving Callanan of the ball and defusing a goal threat in the 26th minute.
The highlight of the half was a fine goal from McBride, who finished smartly when well placed by Chris Crummey. Crummey and the impressive Conor Burke dominated the middle of the field, and Dublin’s forwards were more effective with their movement. Over the course of the game they showed a coherence and intelligence in their hurling that has been a notable feature of their play this year.
Referee Johnny Murphy didn’t endear himself to the home crowd with much whistling, being particularly fussy on over-carrying and hand-passing. Suffice to say it was not one of his better days.
McBride’s goal came in the 25th minute and put Dublin ahead for the first time, 1-5 to 0-7, after they had trailed by four points just nine minutes earlier. A point from Burke nudged them back in front in first half added time, leading 1-8 to 0-10 at the interval.
The second half moved up a few gears with Dublin hitting the first score, but Tipp reeling them back in and moving two points clear with Morris firing over some classy scores. But a Hayes goal in the 50th minute, batting home after a strong run, pushed Dublin five points clear. Burke’s and Dublin’s last score on the hour mark restored that margin, before the cavalry arrived, with Tipp getting good impact off the bench, Conor Bowe and the McGraths adding extra impetus.
Dublin: D Burke 0-9 (8fs); R McBride 1-2; R Hayes 1-1; F Whitely 0-2; C Burke, J Madden 0-1 each.
Tipperary: J Forde 0-12 (11fs, 1 l/b); J Morris 0-3; R Byrne 0-2; M Breen, P Flynn, C Bowe, N McGrath 0-1 each.
DUBLIN – S Brennan; A Dunphy, E O’Donnell, C O’Callaghan; J Bellew, P Smyth, J Madden; C Burke, C Crummey; D Sutcliffe, R McBride, D Burke; F Whitely, R Hayes, A Mellett.
Subs: E Dillon for Hayes (58); D Keogh for Whitely (54); J Malone for McBride; P Crummey for Mellett (67).
TIPPERARY – B Hogan; C Morgan, B McGrath, E Connolly; R Byrne, S Kennedy, R Maher; A Flynn, P Cadell; D McCormack, J Forde, D Breen; J Morris, S Callanan, P Flynn.
Subs: J McGrath for Callanan and N McGrath for Cadell (55); C Bowe for A Flynn (62).
Referee: J Murphy (Limerick).