Allianz Hurling League Division 1A – Tipperary 2-20 Galway 2-18

Tenacious Tipp hearten Ryan

Tipperary 2-20 Galway 2-18

By Jackie Cahill for the Irish Examiner newspaper

A first Allianz National Hurling League victory of the season for Tipperary and a first defeat for Galway were the main talking points from a high-scoring encounter at Semple Stadium yesterday. A tie that was level 14 times was settled by late scores from Johnny Ryan, with his first touch, and Noel McGrath as Tipp edged home by two points in front of 4,951 spectators in Thurles. It was typical March hurling, error-ridden on a deceptively heavy sod, but Tipperary manager Declan Ryan won’t complain after his charges bounced back from their opening day mauling to Kilkenny in Nowlan Park. A Waterford Crystal Cup final victory over Clare sandwiched in between will have boosted confidence levels and the style of Tipp’s play was noticeably changed as they used possession more intelligently. Gone was the reliance on the route one approach that failed against Brian Cody’s charges on All-Ireland final day and again 15 days ago as Tipp’s forwards moved more fluidly and picked off some neat scores as a consequence.  Galway, too, played their part and led with nine minutes remaining before the home outfit did just about enough down the home stretch with a late flourish that will have heartened Ryan.

The talent within the Tipp ranks remains unquestionable but the job for Ryan and coach Tommy Dunne is to get them playing again to levels of 2010. Galway coach Tom Helebert insisted that the Tribesmen are still very much a work in progress, behind the likes of Tipp and Kilkenny in terms of core strength and fitness levels. But the inside line of Damien Hayes, James Regan and Bernard Burke showed enough to suggest that they could form a potent unit come the summer as the trio finished with a combined tally of 2-7 from play. Pa Bourke was Tipperary’s scorer-in-chief, hitting 1-6, including a glorious first half goal before he was withdrawn in stoppage time. So far this year, six-time All Star and former team captain Eoin Kelly has had to be content with a place on the bench and he lasted less than a minute yesterday, coming off with a hamstring twinge having replaced Shane McGrath at half-time.

This morning, manager Ryan will be pleased to reflect on two valuable League points, instead of reading about the continuing absence of Lar Corbett. With the 2010 Hurler of the Year offering no indication that he is set to return, Tipp fans are straining their eyes into the attacking sextet and crying out for a hero to emerge. Shane Bourke, so impressive for UCC in their Fitzgibbon Cup success, took his chance to impress with a hard-working display rewarded by two points from play while in the other corner forward position, John O’Neill clipped over two gems. Brian O’Meara at full-forward perhaps won his battle with David Collins on points but the star turn in attack was Noel McGrath, who bagged 1-3 and a lovely 42nd minute goal.

“We got on the ball a bit handier today and we used it a lot better when we were in possession,” was Ryan’s assessment and he was spot on. McGrath’s goal was a case in point as Timmy Hammersley and Pa Bourke did well to get passes away in confined spaces before McGrath planted a smashing shot past James Skehill. At half-time, Galway led 1-9 to 1-8 following a 35 minutes that saw the teams level six times. The visitors began in devastating fashion as James Regan planted a shot into the top corner in the third minute to establish a 1-1 to 0-0 lead, just a minute after Skehill did brilliantly to keep out a rasping O’Meara drive. Tipp were level by the 11th minute, however, and goaled in the 29th minute as O’Meara somehow kept hold of possession under extreme pressure before Bourke finished clinically. Boosted by a second goal, from McGrath, Tipp led by 2-11 to 1-10 in the 42nd minute but a Damien Hayes goal for Galway levelled the tie at 2-11 apiece four minutes later.

“The lads stuck at it. It was nip and tuck in the second half and they stuck at it,” Ryan reflected. That they did as Helebert was left disappointed that Galway did not emerge with at least a share of the spoils. He said: “We’re disappointed not to take something out of it. We thought we’d worked hard to get something. “A few decisions went against us late on. We felt one or two of the calls were, at best marginal but we didn’t get them. We have to accept it and move on. “When you’re trying to come from where we are and build a team you need every break you can get.”

Scorers for Tipperary: P Bourke 1-6 (0-5f), N McGrath 1-3 (0-1f), J Woodlock, B Maher, J O’Neill & S Bourke 0-2 each, C O’Mahony (65), B O’Meara, J Ryan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: N Burke 0-7f, D Hayes 1-3, J Regan 1-2, C Cooney 0-3 (1f), B Burke 0-2, B Daly 0-1.

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; D Maher, P Curran, M Cahill; J O’Keeffe, C O’Mahony, P Maher; J Woodlock, B Maher; P Bourke, N McGrath, S McGrath; J O’Neill, B O’Meara, S Bourke.
Subs: E Kelly for S McGrath (h.t.), T Hammersley for Kelly (inj, 38), J Ryan for Pa Bourke (70+1).

GALWAY: J Skehill; D Connolly, D Collins, G O’Halloran; J Cooney, F Moore, N Donoghue; D Burke, C Donnellan; C Cooney, N Burke, I Tannian; D Hayes, J Regan, B Burke.
Subs: B Daly for Tannian (28), J Coen for J Cooney (33), P Gordan for Donoghue (43), A Harte for Donnellan (53), E Ryan for N Burke (65).

Referee: C McAllister (Cork)


Ryan delight as Premier edge thriller

By Martin Breheny for the Irish Independent newspaper

LEVEL on no fewer than 14 occasions on an afternoon when the weather and the hurling presented a good impersonation of early summer, a richly satisfying contest at Semple Stadium finally swung Tipperary’s way in stoppage-time. Late points by substitute Johnny Ryan and Noel McGrath (free) enabled Tipperary to take their first League points of the season from a game that was so finely balanced all day that Galway were desperately disappointed not to have taken something out of it. Their supporters in the crowd of 4,951 weren’t enamoured with the performance of Cork referee Cathal McAllister, contending that many of the close calls went Tipperary’s way.

Galway selector Tom Helebert walked a diplomatic line on the subject afterwards. “We felt one or two of the calls were, at best, marginal but we didn’t get them. We have to accept it and move on. When you’re trying to come from where we’re coming from and build a team, you need every break you can get,” he said. Still, Galway could take plenty of positives from the manner in which their young team matched Tipperary in the majority of the key facets, with the notable exception of calmness under pressure.

DRIVING

Most of the Tipperary team have been driving in the fast lane for quite some time and are ultra-accomplished when it comes to manoeuvring around tight corners. They did it on a number of occasions yesterday, starting early on after they found themselves 1-1 to 0-0 behind after three minutes. Bernard Burke had fired Galway ahead in the first minute and 90 seconds later, James Regan raced through the centre of the Tipperary defence and beat Brendan Cummins with a crisp finish. In between, James Skehill had made a brilliant save from Brian O’Meara while Cummins had to be at his vigilant best in the fifth minute to stop Bernard Burke from scoring a second Galway goal.

All that early drama set the scene for what developed into a cracking contest. The sides were level on six occasions in the first half, with Galway finishing the stronger. They scored three late points to lead by one (1-9 to 1-8) at half-time after Pa Bourke had put Tipperary two points clear with a goal in the 29th minute. Tipperary were the more progressive side early in the second half, out-scoring their rivals by 1-3 (the goal came from Noel McGrath) in the opening seven minutes, but Galway’s response was emphatic and effective. A Damien Hayes goal in the 45th minute reignited them and, from there to the finish, it was tight and tense as both sides worked extremely hard in every sector.

Tipperary led by three points after 54 minutes but Galway were back level on the hour mark and a point ahead a minute later. Tipp twice moved ahead on the run-in but Galway drew level in the 69th minute when Conor Cooney, who took over the free-taking duties following Niall Burke’s departure, slotted a point from an acute angle. A draw was looking likely but Johnny Ryan made an important contribution seconds after his arrival when he fired over a point and Noel McGrath closed out the scoring with a pointed free which Galway felt — with some justification it must be said — was a harsh decision against them. Having beaten Dublin in the first round, a draw would have been a good result for Galway but a win was absolutely vital for Tipperary who had lost heavily to Kilkenny two weeks earlier.

Tipperary manager Declan Ryan attributed the win to a vast improvement in their ball-winning and usage. “We got on the ball a bit handier today (than in the Kilkenny game) and we used it a lot better when we were in possession. “We gave away a good number of frees so that’s something we can work on. Overall, the boys worked very hard all through so we can be happy from that point of view,” he said.

Nobody typified the work ethic more than midfielder Brendan Maher, who was a hugely influential figure. He had plenty of willing accomplices too on a day when Tipperary needed to be extremely sharp to wear down a new-look Galway side, which looks to be taking shape nicely. “It was the sort of game we wanted, even if it wasn’t the result we wanted. We needed to be hard and competitive in the tackle and we were,” said Helebert. “There was great honesty of effort out there. We have plenty to work on but that’s a positive in itself. Our fitness isn’t the same as the likes of Kilkenny and Tipperary, but we’re working on it. It will take time.”

One disappointment for Tipperary was the departure of Eoin Kelly with a hamstring injury one minute after his introduction as a sub for the second half. He had been involved in the play only once before being forced off and the full extent of the damage now remains to be seen. It was the only downer for Tipperary on a day when they got their League ambitions back on target. “There’s a long way to go in the League, but there are all sorts of possibilities out there. Our hurling has improved a lot over the last couple of weeks. Every game is a big game now. That’s the way it should be,” said Ryan. Tipperary will be back in Semple Stadium next Sunday (against Waterford) while Galway must travel to Pairc Ui Chaoimh to take on Cork. It’s a tough assignment for a squad that’s still very much in the formative stage, but the signs are encouraging and while they were disappointed by the circumstances of yesterday’s defeat, it will have taught them some valuable lessons.

Man of the Match: B Maher (Tipperary)

Scorers — Tipperary: P Bourke 1-6 (0-5f), N McGrath 1-3 (0-1f), J O’Neill, B Maher, S Bourke, J Woodlock 0-2 each, B O’Meara, C O’Mahony (1f), J Ryan 0-1 each.

Galway: N Burke 0-7 (7f), D Hayes 1-3, J Regan 1-2, C Cooney 0-3 (1f), B Burke 0-2, B Daly 0-1.

Tipperary — B Cummins 7; D Maher 7, P Curran 7, M Cahill 8; J O’Keeffe 6, C O’Mahony 7, P Maher 7; J Woodlock 7, B Maher 9; P Bourke 8, N McGrath 8, S McGrath 6; J O’Neill 7, B O’Meara 7, S Bourke 7. Subs: E Kelly for S McGrath (h-t), T Hammersley 7 for Kelly (36), J Ryan for P Bourke (70).

Galway — J Skehill 7; D Connolly 6, D Collins 7, G O’Halloran 7; N Donoghue 7, F Moore 7, J Cooney 6; D Burke 7, C Donnellan 6; C Cooney 7, N Burke 7, I Tannian 5; D Hayes 8, J Regan 8, B Burke 7. Subs: B Daly 7 for Tannian (28), J Coen 7 for J Cooney (30), P Gordon 6 for Donoghue (44), A Harte 6 for Donnellan (52), E Ryan for N Burke (65).

Ref — C McAllister (Cork)

 


 

Tipp snatch points at the death

Report from the Breakingnews.ie web site

Tipperary 2-20 Galway 2-18

Pa Bourke bagged 1-6 against Galway this afternoon to kick start Tipperary’s National Hurling League season. The Thurles Sarsfields attacker proved that there can be life after his departed clubmate Lar Corbett with a clinical display. Bourke hit 1-1 from play, including a blistering second half goal, and five frees as Tipp collected their first victory of the season. This was a much-improved performance from the Premier County, who were battered by Kilkenny at Nowlan Park in the opening round of matches. And a hard-fought victory in a match that was level 14 times was achieved against a Galway outfit that showed plenty of promise against Dublin a fortnight before.

With the sides level at 2-18 apiece late on, Johnny Ryan came off the bench to put Tipp ahead with his first touch before classy centre forward Noel McGrath sealed victory from a free. Tipp just about deserved their victory against the visiting Tribesmen who finished the match with 2-7 from a dangerous full-forward line. In front of 4951 spectators, Tipp came with the late surge to secure their opening points of the season. Two more beckon next Sunday when struggling Waterford come to town and suddenly, Tipp could be right back in business with early season silverware already secured in the form of the Waterford Crystal Cup.

So far this year, six-time All-Star and former team captain Eoin Kelly has had to be content with a place on the bench and he lasted less than a minute, coming off with a hamstring twinge having replaced Shane McGrath at half-time. Shane Bourke, so impressive for UCC in their Fitzgibbon Cup success, took his chance to impress with a hard-working display rewarded by two points from play while in the other corner forward position, John O’Neill clipped over two gems. Brian O’Meara at full-forward perhaps won his battle with David Collins on points but the star turn in attack was McGrath, who bagged 1-3 and a delicious 42nd minute goal.

At half-time, Galway led by 1-9 to 1-8 following a 35 minutes that saw the teams level six times. The visitors began in devastating fashion as James Regan planted a shot into the top corner in the third minute to establish a 1-1 to 0-0 lead, just a minute after Skehill did brilliantly to keep out a rasping O’Meara drive. Tipp were level by the eleventh minute, however, and struck for a goal of their own in the 29th minute as O’Meara somehow kept hold of possession under extreme pressure from Galway defenders before Bourke finished clinically. Boosted by a second goal, from McGrath, Tipp led by 2-11 to 1-10 in the 42nd minute but a Damien Hayes goal for Galway levelled the tie at 2-11 apiece four minutes later. Remarkably, the sides were level again five times before Ryan and McGrath scored the late points to secure the win for Tipperary.

Scorers for Tipperary: P Bourke 1-6 (0-5f), N McGrath 1-3 (0-1f), J Woodlock, B Maher, J O’Neill & S Bourke 0-2 each, C O’Mahony (65), B O’Meara & J Ryan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: N Burke 0-7f, D Hayes 1-3, J Regan 1-2, C Cooney 0-3 (1f), B Burke 0-2, B Daly 0-1.

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; D Maher, P Curran, M Cahill; J O’Keeffe, C O’Mahony, P Maher; J Woodlock, B Maher; P Bourke (J Ryan 70+1), N McGrath, S McGrath (E Kelly h.t., T Hammersley 38); J O’Neill, B O’Meara, S Bourke.

GALWAY: J Skehill; D Connolly, D Collins, G O’Halloran; J Cooney (J Coen 33), F Moore, N Donoghue (P Gordan 43); D Burke, C Donnellan (A Harte 53); C Cooney, N Burke (E Ryan 65), I Tannian (B Daly 28); D Hayes, J Regan, B Burke.

Referee: C McAllister (Cork)

Team News

The Tipperary SH team to play Galway in the Allianz Hurling League round 2 shows 5 changes from the team which lost to Kilkenny in round 1. John O’Keeffe, James Woodlock, Shane McGrath, John O’Neill and Shane Bourke all come into the team in place of Shane Maher, David Young, Gearoid Ryan, Adrian Ryan and John O’Brien.

1. Brendan Cummins (Ballybacon-Grange)

2. Donagh Maher (Burgess)

3. Paul Curran (Mullinahone) Captain

4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)

5. John O’Keeffe (Clonoulty Rossmore)

6. Conor O’Mahony (Newport)

7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)

8. James Woodlock (Drom and Inch)

9. Brendan Maher (Borris–Ileigh)

10. Pa Bourke (Thurles Sarsfiedls)

11. Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney)

12. Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch)

13. John O’Neill (Clonoulty Rossmore)

14. Brian O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs)

15. Shane Bourke (JK Brackens)

The Galway side to play Tiperary in this Sundays Allianz NHL tie in Thurles has just been announced as follows:

1. James Skehill

2. Declan Connolly

3. David Collins

4. Ger O’Halloran

5. Niall Donohue

6. Fergal Moore

7. Tony Og Regan

8. David Burke

9. Cyril Donnelan

10. Conor Cooney

11. Niall Burke

12. Iarlaith Tannian

13. Damian Hayes

14. James Regan

15. Bernard Burke

Subs:

16. Jamie Ryan

17. Padraig Shiels

18. Brian Flaherty

19. Paul Gordon

20. Joseph Cooney

21. Barry Daly

22. Eanna Ryan

23. Johnny Coen

24. Aidan Harte

25. Jason Grealish

26. Tadgh Haran

TIPPERARY SUPPORTERS CLUB GET TOGETHER

The Tipperary Supporters Club invite members to a get together immediately after Sunday’s match v Galway in the Park Avenue Hotel, near Semple Stadium. Come and enjoy complimentary finger food, tea and coffee and take part in a draw for a Tipperary jersey signed by the senior hurling panel and other prizes. This event is sponsored by Ryan Motor Power, Skoda Dealers, Clonmel and kindly hosted by Declan and Niamh Carr in the Park Avenue Hotel. 2012 Membership will be available at the event. The Tipperary Supporters Club junior mascot for the match is Dylan Maher, Dunkerrin.

Match Preview

Allianz Hurling League Division IA

From the GAA.ie web site

Tipperary v Galway, Semple Stadium, Thurles, 2.30pm

After the long winter break, supporters are always keen to make an early assessment of their team and in that light, the opening game of the Allianz Hurling League tends to take on greater significance than it ordinarily might.

It was hardly surprising, therefore, that Tipperary’s defeat to Kilkenny in Round 1 of the Allianz League was greeted with such pessimism in the Premier County. Coupled with the withdrawal of Lar Corbett from the squad the previous month, the eight-point loss supported suggestions that Tipperary had lost even further ground to the Cats since last September’s All-Ireland final.

“I’m very disappointed with the performance overall. It looks like Kilkenny are a couple of steps ahead of us and two or three gears ahead of us overall,” said Tipperary manager Declan Ryan after the game. “That’s the most disappointing thing really – our lads have a lot of work put in and have been training particularly hard pre-season. The overall display today was disappointing and that’s all you could say, really.”

Whether they have lost ground or not, Ryan must lift his players for a vitally important game against a youthful Galway side with their tails up after a seven-point win over Dublin in their League opener.

Playing a Kilkenny side with 12 starters from last September was as tough a start to the campaign as one could imagine. Galway, although full of confidence and youthful exuberance, might just be the kind of team Tipperary will fancy taking their frustrations out on.

Last Sunday’s 1-21 to 2-12 win over high-flying Clare in the Waterford Crystal Cup final will have gone some way to restoring confidence. “It was a good workout for us,” said Ryan. “After the game against Kilkenny the last day we were looking for a good performance, and it was a tough battle today.”

Paul Curran and Brendan Maher are available after recovering from hamstring injuries, while John O’Brien and Gearoid Ryan are doubtful with finger and neck problems respectively. Seamus Callanan and Patrick Maher are long-term absentees but are reported to be making good progress by the Tipperary camp.

Although Galway were not in action last weekend, the Connacht side that lost the M. Donnelly Interprovincial final to Kilkenny in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny was effectively a Galway team. The ever-busy Anthony Cunningham doubled as the provincial manager and used the outing as a chance to have a look at some of his fringe players.

Galway went into their game against Dublin with eight of the side that won the U21 title the previous year in their starting XV. Although they performed admirably that day, one of the squad’s senior players, captain Fergal Moore, has warned of the dangers of playing with so many newcomers at this level.

“We have a young and inexperienced team – we are trying to build a team – and we are learning that you can’t afford to switch off for a second at this level,” said Moore. “If you do, the ball is gone and if the ball is gone, it is generally a score down the other end of the pitch. It will come with time but we will have to learn pretty quickly on the road.”

Cunningham will again place his faith in the players that served him so well at underage level, while the likes of Cyril Donnellan, Damien Hayes and Moore provide much-needed experience. Joe Canning remains sidelined with a knee injury, but was hardly missed against Dublin, as Niall Burke was superb from placed balls and scored five points from play for good measure.

Judging by their Allianz League record against Tipperary – two wins in 12 meetings since 2001 – Galway could be brought back down to earth with a bump in Semple Stadium on Sunday.