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2005 League


Kilkenny 3-18 Tipperary 2-16 Knocknagow

Kilkenny ended Tipp’s slim hopes of a league Final appearance with a 5 point win over Tipp in Nowlan Park yesterday. Kilkenny will now play Clare in the League Final in Thurles on Bank holiday Monday. Tipp made 2 changes before the game. Lar Corbett came in for his first start of the year in place of Paddy O’Brien at corner forward and Tadgh Slevin replaced Colin Morrissey in midfield. In another surprise Redser was named as a sub.
Fanning fouled and Shefflin scored the first point from a free. Diarmaid Fitzgerald was fouled and Benny Dunne pointed the free. A Lar Corbett effort then hit the crossbar and was knocked out for a 65 which Eoin Kelly pointed. Hugh Moloney fouled Shefflin, (the first of many fouls), and he equalised with the free. Martin Comerford got the first point from play to put Kilkenny ahead and 2 good Henry Shefflin points put Kilkenny 3 up. Lar then scored Tipp’s first point from play. Eoin Kelly won a ball out on the sideline and played a great low ball in the inrushing Francis Devanney who kicked to the net. So after 15 minutes Tipp lead 1-3 to 0-5.
Straight away in front of the Tipp goal Eamon Corcoran slipped and Richie Power kicked to the net to restore Kilkenny’s lead. Kilkenny then had 2 goal chances the second of which was a 21 yard free from DJ which was saved. Kilkenny did goal soon after when Philip Maher fumbled a sideline ball and at the second attempt Henry Shefflin flicked 1 handed to the net. So after 20 minutes Kilkenny lead 2-5 to 1-3. Lar Corbett had a goal effort for Tipp but it went wide. Henry Shefflin extended Kilkenny’s lead with another point after poor play from Paul Curran. Eoin Kelly put a free wide before Lar Corbett collected from a Tadgh Slevin pass rounded Kavanagh and buried to the roof of the net, to bring it back to 3 points. Kilkenny stretched their lead with points from Eoin Larkin and Ryall. Benny Dunne pointed for Tipp before Kilkenny closed out the half on top. Firstly they had a DJ 21 yard goal effort saved, then Henry Shefflin and Eoin Larkin scored points to leave it 2-10 to 2-04 in Kilkenny’s favour at the break.
Kilkenny made 1 change at the break with Michael Phelan replacing Michael Kavanagh. Benny Dunne had a wide before Tipp made their first change with Tommy Dunne replacing Darragh Egan. 2 further Kilkenny points put them 8 points ahead. Mark O’Leary was yellow carded for a stupid petulant foul and was replaced by Redser. Tipp had 2 bad wides before John Devane got Tipp’s first of the second half. Conor O’Mahony replaced Slevin at midfield. He then set up Eoin Kelly for a point to leave only 6 points in it. However whatever hope Tipp had was snuffed out when another Philip Maher fumble let Eoin Larkin bury to the net, a point soon after left the score 3-13 to 2-6.
Tipp responded with 3 points: Eoin Kelly from play, a free and John Devane. Martin Comerford and Shefflin responded with points. Kilkenny then made a triple substitution bringing on Ken Coogan, McCormack and Cha Fitzpatrick for Richie Mulally, Richie Power and Brian Barry. Tipp eventually replaced Hugh Moloney with Eamon Buckley on 25 minutes. Eoin Kelly scored 2 points before Ryall scored to leave it 3-16 to 2-11. Benny Dunne had a good goal effort saved. John Hoyne replaced DJ. Eoin Kelly then scored a 2 pointer with a sideline cut on the 13 yard line after missing 1 from the 21! Tipp’s last change was Paul Kelly for John Devane. Kilkenny scored another point, before an Eoin Kelly free and an Eoin Kelly pass to Redser saw him score. Redser then was lucky to stay on the field when a wild pull only got a ticking. Lar then played a great cross field ball which was just in front of Redser. Martin Comerford got Kilkenny’s last score before in injury time Paul Kelly got a Tipp point. The ref blew after 2 minutes of injury time; final score 3-18 to 2-16.
So Kilkenny advance comfortably to the League Final. In truth the game was up at half time and any time Tipp got near Kilkenny they were able to tag on a few scores to keep Tipp at bay. The main source of satisfaction for Brian Cody will be the fluidity of the forwards and the quality of inter play between them; Richie Power and Henry Shefflin tormented the Tipp backs time after time. They should have had more scores only for DJ wasting 2 21 yard frees and a small bit of over elaboration in front of goals when taking their point would have been the easiest solution. One aspect that will not please Cody is Michael Kavanagh. He was on Lar Corbett who has not played in months and he scored 1-1 in the first half and was straight through on goals on 2 further occasions but did not score. Still they now have a League final to sort out their problems.
It’s a sad end to a poor league for Tipp. Outplayed in most sectors on the field, and on the sideline confidence for the Championship will have been severely detented by their fourth loss in five games. More worryingly was the lack of competiveness. This game was over at the break and Tipp had only score 2 points from play! Again the lack of awareness on the sideline to make the necessary switches; take off both Moloney and Slevin who were roasted was in sharp contrast to Kilkenny who replaced Kavanagh at the break. Also there seemed to be no plan when a Tipp backman won the ball other than to balloon it into the corners where Eoin Kelly was never going to win high ball. Compared this to the superb ball that the Kilkenny forwards got for most of the game.

Goalkeeper: was kept busy due to the shaky full back line. Could do nothing for either goal.

Full back line: Shocking, nightmare stuff. DJ totally roasted Philip Maher. His fumbles lead to 2 goals. Hugh Moloney was severely roasted by Richie Power slightly improved when switched to Shefflin. Gave away countless frees which should have resulted in a yellow card 10 minutes into the game. Seemed to panic the minute his man got the ball and fouled straight away. Paul Curran lasted the full game due to the lack of alternatives. Was fine for high balls in which he won but was poor when his man had the ball in hand.

Half back line: Diarmaid Fitzgerald exorcised the demons of the U21 game with a good solid performance. Held up Tommy Walsh very well. Fanning did ok. Nothing too fancy still looks a better bet for centre back. After gifting Richie Power the first goal Corcoran had a good game. What he could not catch he batted and swept up well in front of Cummins. His clearances were not the best at times. Still an improvement on Kennedy.

Midfield: Tadgh Slevin is not even remotely up to this standard though he did try hard and set up Lar’s goal. Benny Dunne swanned around the place running if he wanted to and most of the time not bothering to pick up his man. As captain knows his place is assured although needs a good kick in the hole!!

Half forward line: Francis Devanney took his goal superbly but disappeared soon after. John Devane was quiet for the first half but scored 2 second half points. Mark O’Leary, got noted for throwing his hurley and a yellow card for a dirty belt on a Kilkenny player. This was the sum of his contribution yesterday.

Full forward line: Eoin Kelly scored 5 points from play, 2 frees and a sideline. Unusual game missed a few easy frees and scorable chances but scored some brilliant points and a sideline from 13 yards out. Gave a great pas to Devanney for his goal. His best position is in the corner. Darragh Egan got no ball in the first half and replaced unfairly early on in the second. Lar Corbett scored 1-1 and caused panic in the Kilkenny full back line. Unlucky not to score more in the second half.

Tommy Dunne for Darragh Egan: Switched from wing forward to centre forward and did not do much.

Redser for Mark O’Leary; scored 1 point. Got a lot of ball but his touch seemed off. Should have been placed at the edge of the square.

Conor O’Mahony for Tadgh Slevin: gave a few nice balls into the forwards and set up an Eoin Kelly point.

Eamon Buckley for Hugh Moloney: did not have much to do.

Paul Kelly for John Devane: on for last 5 minutes failed to rise a 65 and scored the last point of the day!

Tipp end the League with way more questions than answers. Of the team that started yesterday 4 are not up to Championship standard. Hopefully Hogan’s knows his best team as from looking at the team over the past few weeks he does not appear to. Similar to last year there is a major questions over a lot of players and their ability to produce it on the big day. Another problem is that a lot of Championship starters have got very little League time due to injuries; Martin Maher, Paul Kelly and Colin Morrissey and in some cases the replacements are not up to scratch. Still he has 3 weeks to get things right and hopefully send a team out onto the pitch at Semple Stadium that will perform with pride in the jersey and win.


Kilkenny v Tipperary (24-04-05)Knocknagow

Kilkenny and Tipp play their last game of the second phase of the National League on Sunday in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny at 3.30. The referee is Joe Sexton of Limerick. Kilkenny qualified from Division 1 A with Galway and Clare. Tipp and Kilkenny did not meet in the League last year as Kilkenny did not qualify for the top flight of Phase 2 of the League. They did meet 2 years ago in Nowlan Park where Redser had his finest hour in a Tipp jersey scoring 1-6 off Noel Hickey, in a game that Tipp won. In the latter stages of Phase 1 they had good wins over Laois and Dublin, but lost heavily to Clare while the last 2 Sunday’s they have beaten Cork and Wexford.
In the third last game of Phase 1 Kilkenny beat Laois fairly comfortably, with DJ Carey lining out at centre back, 0-19 to 1-9. They then came a cropper against Clare where they were caught in the first half for 2 goals and never recovered. This game marked the end of DJ’s sojourn at centre back, even though he scored 3 frees. Final score Clare 2-13 to 1-8. Kilkenny secured their place in Phase 2 of the League with a 2-27 to 0-11 hammering of Dublin. Eddie McCormack 2-3, Eoin Larkin 0-8 and Martin Comerford 0-6 doing the damage.
Two weeks ago they beat Cork in Pairc Ui Chaiomh, 1-14 to 1-11. They had a great start scoring 1-7 in the first 25 minutes with the goal coming from Martin Comerford. Tommy Walsh and Eoin Larkin also scored. They lead 1-7 to 0-2 at the break. In the second half they had to withstand a Cork fight back with Ben O’Connor scoring 9 points in total. A Kieran Murphy goal brought Cork back into it with points from Tommy Walsh, Henry Shefflin and Richie Power sealed a 3 pint win and some revenge for last September. Last Sunday they hammered Wexford in Nowlan Park, 3-26 to 0-5. They totally outplayed Wexford in the first half, with Richie Power racing through for the first goal and Tommy Walsh adding the second, as they lead 2-11 to 0-2. In the second half Tommy Walsh, Eoin Larkin and Brian Barry all impressed as Kilkenny ran out easy winners.
Kilkenny have recovered well from losing the All-Ireland Final last year to Cork. Probably the biggest help was the U21 win and James Stephens winning the All-Ireland Club title on Patrick’s Day in Croke Park. As a result of Stephen’s win JJ Delaney has spent some time at centre back although Peter Barry is likely to return there come Championship. The main addition has been Eoin Larkin who impressed greatly for James Stephens and scored 8 points from centre forward against Dublin, and has been their top scorer to date in the League. Not bad for a player not good enough for the U21 starting 15 last year! The bulk of the side is similar to last year with Tommy Walsh spending some time in the forwards during the League.
Tipp impressed greatly last week against Galway winning 3-16 to 0-19 points. Tipp scored 3 goals in the first half with two from Mark O’Leary and 1 from Michael Webster to lead 3-7 to 0-11 at the break. Galway rallied in the second half and only 7 minutes in brought the deficit back to 2 points mainly from placed balls from Eugene Cloonan. Again Tipp panicked and had 8 wides in a row before closing out the game with the last 6 points, including a sideline point worth 2 points. Further points from subs Tommy Dunne and Francis Devanney left Tipp with a 7 point win. According to press reports Tipp impressed greatly in the first half and the last quarter with the only blip at the start of the second half. Philip Maher and Eamon Corcoran impressed in the spine of the defence in the first half. Eoin Kelly had a good second half. One other noteworthy change was that again Tipp had a different midfield with Pa Morrissey and Benny Dunne starting there. Colin Morrissey unusually lined out at centre forward and set up the first goal.
The Tipp team will not be announced until later on in the week but I expect a number of changes. Paul Kelly if fit should resume his midfield place and Darragh Egan might start in place of Michael Webster at the edge of the square. Martin Maher or Francis Devanney may also be in line for a start.
The position in the League is as follows: Kilkenny and Clare both have 4 points, with points difference of + 33 and + 7 respectively. Tipp and Galway both have 2 points with a points difference of + 4 and – 5 respectively. Wexford and Cork are both out of the reckoning with no wins after 2 games. Assuming that Clare beat Wexford, Tipp would have to beat Kilkenny 14 points to qualify for the League Final! As I have said previously Tipp will probably have and eye on the Championship so a League final should be a priority as a possible League final meeting with Clare would be the last thing Tipp need before facing Limerick in the Championship.
Hopefully Tipp will be able to keep up the impressive performance from last week on Sunday. The full back line which was shaky against Clare held up well last Sunday with Galway’s top scorer Ger Farragher being replaced. They also only let the Galway forwards score 5 points from play. However there is still trouble further out the field with a midfielder and a wing forward being replaced during the game. Also Michael Webster did not impress as much as in previous games. Kilkenny will not want to lose this game as they did 2 years ago. They have looked very sharp to date in the League, (bar the blip against Clare), and have a number of players Richie Power and Eoin Larkin fighting to gain Championship places. While the game will probably be close and tight I expect Kilkenny to be ahead by 5 pints at the end. Knocknagow

Galway v Tipperary (17-04-05)Knocknagow

Galway and Tipp play their second game of the second phase of the National League on Sunday in Salthill at 3.30. The referee is Wexford’s Dickie Murphy. Galway qualified from Division 1 A with Kilkenny and Clare. Tipp and Galway have met the last 2 years in the League in Thurles. Two years ago the game was remembered more for Eamon Corcoran’s red card than the fact that the game ended in a draw. Last year Tipp had a 2-15 to 1-15 win. Tipp’s first score was a Paddy O’Brien goal which was the margin between the sides at the break; 1-8 to 0-8. Tipp lead 6 points 20 minutes into the second half but Galway came back into it with a Kevin Broderick goal. As the game approached injury time Seamus Butler flicked the ball to the Galway net to seal the Tipp win. In the latter stages of Phase 1 Galway had good wins over Clare, Waterford and Laois while last Sunday they beat Wexford.
In the Clare game in Ennis they had a 4 point win; 3-11 to 1-13. They main scorers on the day were Damien Hayes with 2-4 and Ger Farragher with 1-3. They beat Waterford by 0-18 to 0-11 with goalie Liam O’Donoghue Man of the Match given an exhibition in gaols, including saving a penalty and a number of point blank saves from John Mullane. With O’Donoghue holding the fort at the back it was Farragher who led the scoring with 6 points. In their final game of Phase 1 they struggled but eventually overcame a strong Laois challenge with a late burst of points, to win 2-17 to 2-13. Again it was Farragher who top scored with 1-9.
Last Sunday they beat Wexford in Wexford, 0-19 to 2-10. Galway had an early blow when goalkeeper Liam O’Donoghue was yellow carded. Damien Fitzhenry came up from the Wexford goal and goaled the free. This left Wexford ahead at the break 1-7 to 0-9. Wexford goaled early in the second half through Des Myhan but it was Damien Hayes and especially Ger Farragher, (with 12 points in total), who brought Galway back into it. 4 late points, 2 from Ger Farragher, helped Galway to a 3 point win.
Galway are under Conor Hayes again this year and he will be hoping not to repeat the mistakes of last year where they impressively won the League but were they destroyed by Kilkenny in the Championship in the summer. Their forwards have been in impressive form with Ger Farragher and Damien Hayes both to the fore. Remember that they did not have Eugene Cloonan for Phase 1 of the League, although he played against Wexford last weekend. In the backs Tony Og Regan has moved from further out the field to full back in place if the suspended Diarmuid Cloonan. Outside him Liam Hodgins is as assured and commanding as always. Another unusual change that they have done is switched Ollie Canning from corner back out to wing back. From what I have seen so far it’s a switch that seems to be working. Another welcomed sight for Galway fans is the return of Richie Murray to the Galway team after a few years off the panel.
Tipp are struggling to find form at the moment. While the scoreline at the end of the Clare game only showed a 4 point loss in truth Clare should have won by way more. The fact that Tipp only returned from the Algarve late on Friday night was one of the reasons given by the management for the lacklustre display. Again it was the Tipp half forward line that struggled and 2 of them had to be replaced and John Devane struggled with the pace of the game and was not as effective as in the Cork game. Also worryingly the Tipp full backline struggled with Paul Curran eventually being replaced; the sooner Martin Maher gets back to full fitness the better. The news that Paul Ormonde is due for a leg operation soon is another blow to the Tipp panel and that combined with his lack of games in the League to date seems to rule him out for the Championship opener. This is worrying especially as Galway will have Damien Hayes, Eugene Cloonan and Ger Farragher in the full forward line. If they get enough ball they could easily beat Tipp on their own.
The Tipp team will not be announced until after training Thursday night, due to injuries. Paddy O’Brien, David Kennedy, Colin Morrissey and Martin Maher are all on the treatment table. Given the injury situation and the poor display by a number of players, especially in the half forward and full back lines last Sunday, a number of changes will probably be made: Martin Maher and Colin Morrissey should start assuming they are fit and also Darragh Egan after his cameo role the last day. The Galway team will be announced until later on in the week.
It will be interesting to see how both sides approach this game after the results last weekend. Galway will be anxious to qualify in the League Final as it gives them competitive hurling up to May, while Tipp will be more focused on the Limerick game. The time for chopping and changing in the Tipp team is over so I expect that the vast bulk of the players selected for Sunday will be in the Championship side baring injuries. Unfortunately this is a game I don’t think that Tipp will win. Galway seem to have too many quality players especially in the full forward line who if they get any decent supply of ball will punish Tipp severely. Home advantage should also tell in Galway’s favour. So Galway to win by 4 points.


Clare 1-16 Tipperary 0-15 Knocknagow

Tipperary’s League campaign is quickly losing pace after 4 point loss to a far superior Clare team in a lacklustre affair in Thurles this afternoon. Clare made 1 change with Conor Plunkett coming into the half forward line. Tipp lined out as selected. Clare played with the advantage of the breeze in the first half.
Tipp got the first score of the game with an Eoin Kelly free. Gilligan replied with a point for Clare. Colin Lynch got his first score of the game with a point. Philip Maher then fouled and Gilligan pointed the free. Paddy O’Brien then shot wide from an acute angle. A good passage of play by Tipp saw Devane score a point. After 10 minutes Clare led 3 to 2. Hugh Moloney fouled and Gilligan pointed the free. Clare then got a goal after poor play by Paul Curran let Andrew Quinn slip in to bury past Brendan Cummins and Clare lead by 1-4 to 3. Paddy O’Brien then pointed after good work from Fanning and Mark O’Leary pointed to reduce the gap to a goal. Tipp made their first change after David Kennedy limped off and was replaced by Diarmuid Fitzgerald. He went wing back and Corcoran went centre back.
David Fitzgerald then pulled off a great save from an Eoin Kelly free. Kelly then got a point from a free and Conor Plunkett followed with a similar score. After 26 minutes Clare led 1-5 to 0-5. Sean McMahon free and Tony Carmody further extended Clare’s lead. Mark O’Leary then set up John Devane for a Tipp score. Markham set up Quinn for a point. Clare made their first change with Daithi O’Connell on for Barry Nugent. Webster eventually won a free off Brian Lohan; Eoin Kelly’s shot seaved again by Davy. Clare then missed a goal when a Gilligan free was saved by Cummins and eventually cleared by Diarmuid Fitzgerald. Paul Kelly finished the first half action with a wide. Half time score 1-8 to 0-6 in Clare’s favour.
Neither side made changes for the second half. Clare nearly goaled with the first attack of the game but the ball was kicked out for a 65 which Sean McMahon pointed. Tipp then had a great goal chance but Webster’s shot was saved. Clare then scored 2 points while Tipp had 3 bad wides with Mark O’Leary having 2 of them. He was then replaced by Tommy Dunne who lined out at wing forward. Webster fouled Colin Lynch and Sean McMahon. Clare now lead by 9 points; 1-12 to 0-6. Paul Kelly and Tommy Dunne both had wides. Tipp then brought on Eamon Buckley for Paul Curran.
After 13 minutes of the second half Tipp got their first score of the half with an Eoin Kelly point. Gilligan replied in kind before Paddy O’Brien scored from out on the sideline. Sean McMahon scored a 65 as Clare stretched ahead 1-14 to 0-8. Benny Dunne was replaced by Darragh Egan. Eoin Kelly scored a free. Paul Kelly scored a great point from midfield. Clare then lost Brian Lohan when he upended Paddy O’Brien and was yellow carded. Frank Lohan went full back with Brain Quinn going in at corner back. Tipp then upped the ante and rattled off 3 points in a row from; an Eoin Kelly free, Paddy O’Brien and John Devane. With 10 minutes to go an off the ball incident saw both Frank Lohan and Webster yellow carded. Evan Sweeney and Brian Lynch replaced the two of them. Paddy O’Brein put a sideline cut wide. Sean McMahon added another free. Darragh Egan scored a point from an acute angle, before Paul Kelly put a goal between them with a point from midfield. Clare made their final change with Darragh Clancy coming on. A Tony Carmody point then sealed the game for Clare. In injury time both Conor O’Mahony and Evan Sweeney had wides. After 2 minutes of injury time the ref blew up. Final score Clare 1-16 to 0-15.

Goalkeeper: Saved a free from Gilligan and brought off 1 other good save. Could not be blamed for the goal. Had a powerful puck put in the second half which was going into the Clare full back line.

Full backline: Philip Maher coped well with Niall Gilligan, was caught out a few times but was very dominant in the last quarter. Paul Curran was at fault for the goal and gave away a few very soft frees. Was also caught a few times when his man got in behind him. Was not too pleased when replaced. Hugh Moloney had a better game than against Cork. Cut down on his fouling but does not seem comfortable in the corner.

Half backline: David Kennedy only lasted about 10 minutes. Got in a few clearances but is not up to the task. Eamnon Corcoran moved into centre back. Had a powerful second half when he commanded the area. Fanning was quiet. Caught a few times in possession but made some good clearances.

Midfield: Conor O’Mahony was quiet enough on his first Tipp start. Paul Kelly started off and ended well; scoring two second half points. However neither could cope with Colin Lynch.

Half forward line: Mark O’Leary stared off very well, getting stuck in and scored a point. However two very poor second half points saw him replaced by Timmy Dunne. John Devane ended up with 3 points although not a natural forward gave Seanie McMahon enough of it. Benny Dunne was very quiet all though and lucky to last as long as he did.

Full forward line: Webster for the second game in a row was yellow carded in an off the ball incident. Had 1 great chance when through on gaol but shot was well saved. Not his best day in the Tipp jersey coming up against Brian Lohan who had him well wrapped up all game. Was not used enough with high balls going into the square. Paddy O’Brien ended up with 3 points however he easily missed that much by shooting from impossible angles, ignoring better placed colleagues. Eoin Kelly 1 sweet point from play and 4 placed balls. He had 3 other frees which he went for goals and all were saved. Is coming into form in time for the championship.

Diarmuid Fitzgerald for David Kennedy (injured): Went in wing back, took a while to settle in both played very well especially in broken play, and gives good quality ball into the inside line. Good to see him back and needed for the Championship.

Tommy Dunne on for Mark O’Leary: Spent some time at wing forward before going in to full forward. Had 1 great goal chance but Davy Fitzgerald pulled off a good save.

Eamon Buckley for Paul Curran: Did not get much to do.

Darragh Egan for Benny Dunne: Took his point well.
Evan Sweeney for Michael Webster (yellow carded): Had 2 chances for points but missed both.
Anthony Daly will be pleased with this game. Missing only Tony Griffin from his Championship team he won a tough game. A lot of questions were asked of his team in the second half when Tipp brought it back to a goal however they were able to go the field and score a point to win the game. He will be delighted with the performances of Davy Fitzgerald who pulled off a few great saves and Colin Lynch who despite looking in only third gear commanded the midfield sector and had a hand in most scores. Niall Gilligan wound up with 5 points and Seanie McMahon with 4 from frees and a 65. They were a lot more efficient with their possession then Tipp and scored 17 times.
This was a game in which Tipp should have lost by far more after a very poor first half scoring only 4 points from second half. The only good spell was the third quarter where they pulled to lead back to a single score however it was Clare who looked the strongest in the last 10 minutes. Tipp had an awful amount of wides with most of them from scoreable positions. Also Eoin Kelly’s 3 missed goal chances and Tommy Dunne and Webster were all a blow to Tipp but in fairness Clare were far the hungrier, fitter and sharper side.
So Tipperary have now lost 3 of their last 4 game, with the only win coming against Antrim. Not too good going into tough away games against Galway and Kilkenny, both of whom had wins today. Again it was the old failings of not taking easy scoring chances when presented and backs conceding silly frees. Also the lack of wing forwards was again evident when both were replaced after ineffective displays. A lot more work especially in the forwards before the Championship. Knocknagow

Tipperary V Clare (10-04-05) Knocknagow

Tipp and Clare get the second phase of the National League underway on Sunday in Thurles at 3.30. The referee is Diarmaid Kirwan of Cork. Clare qualifies from Division 1 A with Kilkenny and Galway. All teams have 3 games in this phase of the League and points are not carried forward from Phase 1. Phase 2 will be played off over the next 3 Sundays with the League Final taking place on May 8th.
This is the third year in a row that these sides have met at this stage of the League. The last two years both games have been in Ennis and Clare have been successful on both occasions. Last year they won 1-20 to 1-15. Tipp got the first goal through John Carroll but Clare always had the upper hand and won comfortably in the end.
Clare have had an impressive League campaign to date. They comfortable beat Dublin and Laois struggled against Galway and were beaten. They then ended Phase 1 with 2 very impressive displays against Kilkenny and two weeks ago against Waterford. In the Kilkenny game in Nowlan Park they totally dominated Kilkenny for the first half and lead comfortably at the break with the goals coming from Andrew Quinn and Tony Carmody. Kilkenny tightened up after the break but Clare won handily enough in the end 2-12 to 1-8, with Niall Gillingham top scorer with 12 points. In their last game they played Waterford. The game was level at the break but an impressive second half performance by Niall Gillingham lead Clare to a 2-12 to 1-10 win.
Clare are still under the same management as last year, Anthony Daly, but seem to be taking a different approach to the League than in recent years. They have been trying out a few young players but as the League progressed the team sheet has born a familiar look with Davy Fitzgerald back in goals, Brian Lohan full back, Colin Lynch midfield, and Tony Griffin, Tony Carmody and Niall Gillingham back boning the attack. They had tried out Frank Lohan and Colin Lynch but come Championship expect to see them back in more familiar surroundings.
Tipp have struggled to date in the League. They did beat the 3 weakest teams Down, Limerick and Antrim, (the first with extreme difficulty!), and then were well outplayed by both Wexford and Cork in their last 2 home games. Tipp seem to have no trouble when the pace of the game was slow but once the opposition marked up and closed the lighter Tipp players out Tipp struggled and never looked in contention. Injuries to key players; Brendan Cummins, Martin Maher, Paul Ormonde, Colin Morrissey, Eoin Kelly and Diarmuid Fitzgerald have hampered Tipp’s effort in putting out a starting 15 which resembles what should start the game against Limerick. Poor decision making on the sideline at critical stages has also not helped Tipp.
As mentioned in the last preview and report Tipp still have major trouble with the consistency of the forwards. Over both of the games that they lost they had more possession than the opposition on both occasions yet failed to take even a reasonable proportion of those chances especially in the last quarter of the game which cost them dearly. Also the lack of a ball winner under puck puts has lead to John Devane being tried out in the half forward line.
The Tipp team was picked last night and is as follows:
Brendan Cummins.
Paul Curran, Philip Maher and Hugh Moloney.
Declan Fanning, David Kennedy and Eamon Corcoran.
Conor O’Mahony and Paul Kelly.
Mark O’Leary, John Devane and Benny Dunne.
Eoin Kelly, Michael Webster and Paddy O’Brien
The team shows 3 changes from the Cork side. Both midfielders lose out as both are injured so Tipp have a new midfield partnership with both Paul Kelly and Conor O’Mahony getting their first starts of this years League campaign. Hopefully Paul Kelly will reproduce his form of 2001, although it is good to see him back with the Championship approaching. Mark O’Leary who was due to start the last day replaces Pa Morrissey with John Devane switching to centre forward. As is said in the previous previews I am amazed that David Kennedy is still centre back as his lack of a decent clearance kills Tipp time after time. Francis Devanney is dropped to the bench with John Devane getting a chance at centre forward. It will be interesting to see how he does after scoring 1-2 from wing forward the last day. Clare have injury concerns about Gerry and Andrew Quinn and Barry Nugent while Tony Griffin will miss the game as he is studying in Canada.
This is an important game for Tipp as it will be their last chance to play a match in Semple Stadium before the Championship game with Limerick on 15th May. Due to Tipp’s poor showing in the last 2 games of Phase 1 it is the only home game they have of Phase 2. The main thing from Tipp on Sunday is a good solid performance. The Cork game was an improvement on the dismal Wexford showing, with only a string of 6 bad wides and too many frees conceded stopping Tipp from winning. One has to wonder at Tipp’s hunger for this game seen as they will just be back from a week in the Algarve. Not ideal preparation for facing the Banner! Qualification for the final of the League should not on Tipp’s agenda, (with the Limerick game only 2 weeks after), so it’s a solid performance and an even spread of scores among the forwards that’s important. With a new midfield and pretty much a new half forward line Tipp will take a while to settle into the game. Having seen the team that Tipp have picked it is fairly strong however considering Clare’s recent battering of Kilkenny and their demolition of Waterford they should be too strong for Tipp on this occasion and should win the game by 5 points

Cork 0-16 Tipperary 1-12 Knocknagow

Cork maintained their 100% record in this Division 1 B clash in Semple
Stadium Thurles today with a single point victory over Tipp. Both teams made
changes to their lineouts prior to the start of the game. Pa Morrissey made
his first senior start for Tipp at wing forward in place of Mark O'Leary
while Kevin Hartnett replaced Jerry O'Connor in the Cork midfield. Tipp
played with the aid of the breeze in the first half.
Tipp started the game with 2 wides from Pa Morrissey and Eoin Kelly before
a foul on Webster saw Eoin Kelly point a free. He then added another free
from his own half. Paddy O'Brien saw his goal effort blocked before Tipp had
another wide. Cork then lost John Browne through injury and he was replaced
by Brian Murphy. A David Kennedy mistake saw Timmy McCarthy pass to Neil
Ronan who pointed. Paddy O'Brien then had a wide before Eoin Kelly caught a
great cross field pass from Devane and point superbly. So after 15 minutes
the score was 3-1 in Tipp's favour. Eoin Kelly then passed to Tom King who
pointed from the sideline. Diarmuid Sullivan fouled Webster and Eoin Kelly
pointed the free.
Kennedy fouled Timmy McCarthy and Joe Deane pointed the free. Paul Curran
failed to control the ball and kicked it out for a 65 which Neil Ronan
pointed. Kieran Murphy had a bad wide before John Devane pointed, 6-3 in
Tipp's favour. Joe Deane then pointed 2 frees the first for an Eamon
Corcoran chop and the second for a Philip Maher foul. John Devane then
caught a Paddy O'Brien pass, ran at the Cork full backline and buried to the
net; 1-6 to 0-5 in Tipp's favour. Straight away Tom Kenny then kicked wide
when he had a goal chance. Cork dominated the last 5 minutes of the half and
with pointes from Timmy McCarthy, Tom Kenny, sideline worth 2 points, and a
Garvan MacCarthy point to level at the break; 1-6 to 0-9. In the build up to
Garvan McCarthy's point Brendan Cummins pulled off a great full length save.
On the resumption neither side made any changes. Straight from the start
Neil Ronan raced through and pointed. Conor O'Mahony replaced Paul Curran
who limped off. Paddy O'Brien had a wide before Eoin Kelly was fouled and
scored the resultant free himself to level matters. Benny Dunne then set up
Eoin Kelly for a point. Paddy O'Brien the set up John Devane for a point.
Cork then made to make their second change with Niall McCarthy replacing the
injured Timmy McCarthy. Their third change then came about when John
Cardiner was lucky to only get a yellow after a rash pull, (he was replaced
by Sean Og Hailpin), however Eoin Kelly put the free wide. Tipp then had to
make another change when Diarmuid Sullivan fetched a high ball and had his
run halted by Devanney with a frontal charge. The fact the Sullivan jumped
up immediately the yellow was flashed and he easily outweighs Devanney held
no ice with McSuibhne. Neil Ronan pointed, and Tommy Dunne replaced
Devanney, so after 13 minutes Tipp lead 1-9 to 0-11. Tipp had Tommy Dunne at
full forward with Webster at centre forward.
Neil Ronan had a point from play before Joe Deane pointed a free after a
Hugh Moloney foul as Cork regained the lead. Tipp then lost Webster to a
yellow card and he was replaced by Paul Kelly with Benny going to centre
forward. Tommy Dunne then saw his goal effort smothered before Eoin Kelly
was wide with a free. Cork made another change with Ben O'Connor replacing
Jonathon O'Callaghan. Garvan McCarthy and Paddy O'Brien traded frees. Tipp
then lost Tom King to injury and he was replaced with Tadhg Slevin. So after
20 minutes Cork held a 1 point lead. Tipp then had 3 bad wides from Tommy
Dunne, an unmarked Tadhg Slevin, and John Devane, after a pinpoint Tommy
Dunne pass). A poor David Kennedy clearance let Garvan McCarthy in for a
point. Eoin Kelly then passed to Tommy Dunne who pointed. Tipp then made
their last change with Evan Sweeney who replaced Devane. Ben O'Connor got
Cork's last score. With Tipp 2 points down heading into injury time Eoin
Kelly had a goal effort which was blocked. Benny Dunne then put the minimum
between the sides but it was Cork who had the 2 last chances with wides.
Cork then took off Garvan McCarthy and put on Brendan Barry. After 3 minutes
injury time the ref blew and Cork had held on for a 1 point win 0-16 to

Goalkeeper: Brendan Cummins kept his second clean sheet in a row and made 1
great clearance just before the break.

Full back line: Philip Maher started off a bit shaky but was solid
throughout and completely dominated Kieran Murphy. Paul Curran was replaced
early in the second half after limping off, had a good first half. Hugh
Moloney caught and cleared some great ball but still conceded a few silly

Half back line: David Kennedy although was involved in a lot of play did not
impress. His first decent clearance of the game came in injury time, up to
that all had been hooked blocked or smothered. Fanning struggled on Neil
Ronan who was Cork's best player. Same story with Corcoran although he did
clear a lot of ball in the second half.

Midfield: Benny Dunne scored Tipp's last point and played a bit of the
second half at centre forward. Much improved from the Wexford game. Tom King
scored 1 excellent point and was taken off injured in the second half.

Half forward line: Pa Morrissey started off impressively winning a lot of
ball and shooting 2 wides but faded totally in the second half. Francis
Devanney was unlucky yellow carded after his tackle on Sullivan. Was fairly
quiet up to that but did not let Curran dominate. John Devane while not
seeing much of the ball scored an impressive 1-2. Took his goal well for a
full back but missed an equalising pint near the end.

Full forward line: Eoin Kelly was again the main threat scoring 6 points, 2
from play including a superb effort in the first half. Was a bit off the
pace in the second half missing scoreable frees and Paddy O'Brien took over
the frees. Paddy O'Brien was a lot more involved in the play compared to the
Wexford game. Set up the goal and scored a point from a free. Needs to learn
to pass the ball more rather than shooting every single time he gets the
ball. Michael Webster had a good first half winning a lot of ball out in
front of Sullivan but in the second he was destroyed when he let Sullivan
out in front of him. Still has trouble when he gathers position. Was also
unluckily yellow carded.

Conor O'Mahony for Paul Curran, (injured): came on just after the break. Got
very little ball into his corner.
Tommy Dunne for Francis Devanney (yellow carded): Went full forward scored a
point but also had a wide. Sullivan dominated once he went in and he was not
able to take him on physically also the pace seems to be gone.

Paul Kelly for Michael Webster (yellow carded): Went midfield and did not
have much to do.

Tadgh Slevin for Tom King (injured): Missed one glorious chance to equalise
when he was unmarked.

Evan Sweeney for John Devane: Only on for the last few minutes.

John Allen will be pleased with certain aspects of the game. Firstly Neil
Ronan and Garvan McCarthy both had great games and scored at will. However
he lost number of players; John Browne and Timmy McCarthy to injury and they
did not really threaten the Tipp goal despite one chance just before the
break. Donal Og'Cusack lost possession a number of tomes due to poor
puckouts and their full forward line hardly saw the ball all aftenoon.
However the fact that they are unbeaten after 5 games and they appear to
have the hunger that they had last year will hearten him.
Ken Hogan will be a bit more pleased than after the Wexford game. While he
will not be pleased that Tipp lost they had plenty of chances in the second
half to draw the game, which on other days would have gone over. Also the
loss of both Devanney and Webster took the wind out of Tipp's sails and was
very evident that once Webster departed that Cork dominated in the air. The
yellow carding of Webster was very harsh considering that both he and Ronan
Curran were to blame. Unusually it was the Tipp half backline that let them
down whereas the half forward line held their own. Again Tipp's over
reliance on Eoin Kelly was obvious as most balls won in the half back line
were sprayed in his direction and when he faltered in the last quarter Tipp
faltered. Hogan will be disappointed that he could only make one change,
Sweeney, that was not enforced due to injury of silly yellow cards.
Hopefully with Paul Kelly back playing and Diarmaid Fitzgerald and Martin
Maher back on the bench Tipp will be able to get close to their Championship
team in the next series of game. He would have been happy with the
performances of Hugh Moloney and John Devane both of whom impressed today.
Tipp now have until Sunday week until the second series of games start
against Clare, Galway and Kilkenny leading to the first round of Munster
clash with Limerick on May 15th.

Tipperary v Cork (27-03-2005) Preview.

Tipperary host Cork this Sunday in Semple Stadium,
Thurles at 3.30 in the fifth round of the National Hurling League. Again the
referee is Aodhain McSuibhne of Dublin. Cork are 2/1 to win the League
outright with Tipp only at 7/1. The sides met last year in Pairc Ui Chaiomh
and the game ended in a draw Tipp 1-20 Cork 2-17. Tipp lead well up until
just before the break when 2 Cork goals levelled it 2-7 to 0-13. Tipp did
not score from play in the second half, which Cork dominated, and relied on
points from the 2 Kelly's to stay in touch. Just before the end Eoin Kelly
goaled from a 21 but a Joe Deane free left it level at the end.

Cork are the defending All-Ireland Champions and show
no sign of letting up this season and despite being under new management,
John Allen, they are unbeaten to date in the League. In their first game
they beat Limerick fairly easily 1-20 to 0-10. The first half was close
enough but Cork pulled away in the second half with Neil Ronan, 0-7 points
and Ben O'Connor, 1-1 their main contributors. The next game was against
Wexford and fairly level pegging throughout until a Timmy McCarthy goal mid
way through the second half, and a later Joe Deane free, saw Cork squeeze
home by 1-13 to 0-15. Their next game was against Antrim under lights where
they had a fairly inexperienced side out and were 2 points up at the break,
7-5. Joe Deane scored a goal on the restart as Cork powered away and
dominated the second half scoring at will, with Joe Deane the top scorer
with 1-7 as Cork won 1-19 to 1-09. Their last game was against Down last
Sunday in Down, again a very inexperienced Cork side was on duty and
struggled until the break however they dominated the second half and with
Neil Ronan on fire with 11 points and Brian Corcoran scoring a goal they had
a 1-19 to 0-11 win.

While Cork top the table with 8 points Tipp
are second with 6 points and despite the loss to Wexford are through to the
next round as a result of Limerick's loss to Wexford last weekend. Tipp's
most recent game was a completely facile win a poor Antrim side 6-21 to
0-10. The game was over as a contest well before the break. Top scorers for
Tipp were Eoin Kelly with 2-8, 1-5 from frees, and Paddy O'Brien with 2-2.
The game was some bit note worthy for the placing of John Devane at wing
forward where he scored 6 points and Damien Young again replaced Brendan
Cummins who had to come off due to injury.
The Tipp team was announced last night and is as follows:
Brendan Cummins.
Paul Curran, Philip Maher, and Hugh Moloney.
Declan Fanning, David Kennedy, and Eamonn Corcoran.
Benny Dunne and Tom King.
Mark O'Leary, Francis Devanney, and John Devane.
Eoin Kelly, Micheal Webster, and Paddy O'Brien.
It is unchanged from the Antrim side. Brendan Cummins has recovered from
injury and is fit to line out. While Hugh Moloney did not shine in the
Wexford game he now has a chance to impress the selectors with a game in the
corner although he is more suited out the field, Martin Maher's hamstring
injury made the position his for this game. Again David Kennedy is half back
again. While I was impressed with his first half against Wexford when the
pressure was upped he went missing. The centre back should be Fanning
although he was impressed greatly at wing back so far this year. The
midfield partnership is 2 men more accustomed to the half back line, (indeed
of the 14 outfield players Tipp have stating 9 are backs!!). Colin
Morrissey's injury in the Wexford game is still keeping him out.

The half forward line has struggled all year and at
least the selectors are recognising that with John Devane being placed
there. I assume the logic is that he will win the ball from puck outs. How
long will this last he was Tipp's second best forward against Waterford in
the Championship last year and yet was dropped for the Limerick game! I
cannot see John Gardiner, Ronan Curran or Graham Callinan losing any sleep
between now and next Sunday. Paddy O'Brien gets another chance will get
another chance despite being invisible against Wexford. Michael Webster has
his biggest test to date with Dairmaid O'Sullivan back to the edge of the
Cork square. If Webster approaches breaking even and sets up Eoin Kelly with
a few scores, and keeps Sullivan from those booming clearances then he will
have done a great day's work.

The Cork team was also announced last night and is as follows:
D Og Cusack.
J Browne, D O'Sullivan and C O'Connor.
J Gardiner, R Curran and G Callinan.
T Kenny and J O'Connor.
G McCarthy, T McCarthy, and N Ronan.
J O'Callaghan, K Murphy and J Deane.

Despite missing Brian Corcoran and Sean Og Hailpin it is still
a formidable outfit and Tipp will struggle to come. I expect to see Cork
winning this. Timmy McCarthy will have too much hurling for David Kennedy
and Cork have a massive advantage in midfield with 2 natural midfielders,
and 2 outstanding hurlers in Tom Kenny and Jerry O'Connor. While the Cork
full forward line is not at its strongest, no Brian Corcoran, they will test
the Tipp full back line. Not much can be read into the Antrim game with the
only good thing is that Tipp kept their first clean sheet of the year. Next
Sundays game will be a good test of this Tipp team and also the newer
players. A win on Sunday will set Tipp up well for the season ahead however
a poor performance will leave a lot of questions to be answered with the
Limerick game only a few weeks away. So Cork to win by 5 points.


Antrim v Tipperary (20-03-2005) Preview

Antrim host Tipperary this Sunday in Casement Park Belfast at 3.30 in the fourth round of the National Hurling League. The referee is Aodhain McSuibhne of Dublin. The sides met last year in Semple Stadium, Thurles, where Tipp ran out easy winners 5-23 to 0-13. Eoin Kelly scored 2 goals from frees as Tipp lead 2-9 to 0-10 at the break. Tommy Dunne replaced Redser at the break and scored 2-second half goals. Eoin Kelly was the main Tipp scorer with 2-7 and the main talking point of the game was the return of Philip Maher as a second half sub.
Antrim have played 3 games so far in the League and have 2 points. Their best performance was in the first game against Wexford in Loughgiel where they lost 2-12 to 1-9. Antrim started off with 4 points and through a goal by Michael Herron in the first half they pushed Wexford all the way but could not bridge the gap. They got their first win with a 3-13 to 0-9 win over Down in Portaferry. A Michael Herron goal and a Down sending off left Antrim in the driving seat at the break 1-9 to 0-5 ahead. 2-second half goals by Darren Quinn and Johnny MacIntosh left them comfortable winners at the end.
Antrim’s last game was last Saturday evening in Pairc Ui Rinn where they lost to Cork 1-19 to 1-9. Against a fairly inexperienced Cork side then were 2 points down at the break, 7-5. Joe Deane scored a goal on the restart as Cork powered away and dominated the second half scoring at will. Johnny MacIntosh scored a goal at the end to make the score line 1-19 to 1-9 at the end. MacIntosh was Antrim’s top scorer with 1-4.
Tipp have played 3 games so far and despite winning two of them have not impressed so far. They struggled against Down in the first game and needed a lot of luck to win that one with a late burst. Down’s subsequent heavy loss to Antrim should be a worrying sign. The Limerick game was a non-contest as Limerick had off the field difficulties. Last Sunday Tipp looked comfortable in the first half but paid dearly for missed chance especially from frees. When Wexford put pressure on in the second half they comfortable outfought and outscored Tipp, scoring 1-12 in the second half. Again the Tipp half forward line won very little ball from puck outs and most of the ball that the inside forward line got was from high ball from the backs. The full backline struggled without Philip Maher and could not cope with the Wexford forwards who ran straight at them.
Tipp have a lot of injury worries. Brendan Cummins and Eamon Corcoran pulled out of the Wexford game. Eoin Kelly only played 10 minutes of that game. Michael Webster is also struggling with injury. Lar Corbett has only returned from Australia and Timmy Dunne is being rested after Toome’s run in the club championship. Due to all the above injuries the Tipp team has not been announced yet.
Normally Tipp win these games against Antrim with the minimum amount of fuss, however with the fact that the game is in Antrim and with all the injury worries that Tipp have this game will be a lot closer than usual. Still Tipp should have enough to win by 5 points, to keep their hopes of qualifying for the top phase of the League.

Wexford 2-19 Tipperary 2-15 Match Report .Knocknagow

Wexford joined Tipperary with 4 points in Division 1 B of the National Hurling League after a determined second half performance saw them run out 4 point winners in Thurles today. The fact that the game was shown deferred on TG 4 probably resulted in the small attendance at the game. Tipp made 2 changes before the throw in. Brendan Cummins was replaced by Damien Young and Eamon Corcoran was replaced by Hugh Moloney at wing back. Tipp played with the advantage of the wind in the first half.
Evan Sweeney got the first score of the game from a free after a foul on Micheal Webster, Benny Dunne followed up with one from play. Paul Carley had a wide. The stupidity of the new experimental rules was highlighted when Darren Stamp had to leave the field after receiving yellow after he pulled down Francis Devanney in the square. Evan Sweeney put the penalty wide and John O’Connor replaced Stamp with Diarmuid Lyng going centre back. A long David Kennedy free was fielded by Webster and his shot was deflected over the bar. A Keith Rossiter run saw Redmond Barry get the pass and point, 3-1 for Tipp. Mark O’Leary had a wide before Paul Carley pointed a free after a Philip Maher foul.
Evan Sweeney and Webster both had wides before Des Mythen equalised. Devanney and Barry swapped points. Wexford then lost their second centre back when a Lyng pull on Devanney saw him yellow carded and Slevin pointed the free. Barry Lambert replaced Lyng. Tipp then suffered at the hands of the new rules when a harmless foul by Philip Maher was judged to be a yellow card offence and off he had to go to be replaced by John Devane. Paul Carley again levelled the game. Slevin had 2 wides before Webster pointed to put Tipp a point ahead 6-5 with 25 minutes gone. A poor Fitzhenry puck out was pointed by Morrissey who had to go off 5 minutes later after twisting his leg. He was replaced at midfield by Tom King. Evan Sweeney had a great run but put the ball wide. Tipp did get a goal before the break when Paddy O’Brien who passed to O’Leary who drilled to the net, 1-7 to 0-5 in Tipp’s favour. Diarmaid Fitzgerald then replaced Fanning as a temporary blood sub. Wexford added a free and Tipp completed the scoring before the break when Francis Devanney blocked a Wexford clearance and pointed. At the break Tipp lead 1-8 to 0-6.
For the second half Fanning returned at wingback and for Wexford Rory McCarthy replaced Colin Kehoe. Straight away Wexford were back in the game when a Martin Maher clearance was blocked and despite Young stopping the first shot the ball was put in the net. Tom King pointed straight away to put Tipp 3 points ahead. A poor Young puck out was caught by Paul Carley who pointed. Webster was fouled and Paddy O’Brien pointed. Nigel Higgins had a goal chance but it was cleared by King. A long ball into the Tipp full forward line was expertly touched on by Webster to Sweeney who scored a good goal. So with 10 minutes gone Tipp lead 2-10 to 1-7. Michael Jacob reduced the deficit with a point, before Slevin had to go off with a head injury. He was replaced with Diarmaid at Fitzgerald. Tipp now had 2 wingbacks at midfield!
Wexford had a point before John Devane was easily turned by Nigel Higgins who goaled past the hapless Young. O’Leary pointed after a Diarmaid Fitzgerald pass. Tipp then upped the ante with Eoin Kelly on for David Kennedy. This resulted in some major positional changes for Tipp; half back line: Fanning, Fitzgerald and Moloney. Benny Dunne and King midfield. Paddy O’Brien half forward with Eoin Kelly in the corner. Webster had a great catch and point before Des Mythen replied with a similar score. So Tipp lead 2-13 to 2-11 with 20 minutes gone in the second half. Webster was fouled and Paddy O’Brien pointed the free. Eoin Kelly had a wide before Martin Maher fouled and Carley pointed. Wexford made another change with MJ Furlong replacing Eoin Quigley. Carley had another free to put appoint in it.
With 5 minutes to go Tipp made their final change with Seamus Butler for Evan Sweeney. A Reymond Barry point levelled the game. Tipp’s final score was set up by Benny Dunne who passed to O’Leary who took it well. Wexford were not to be denied and powered to victory with a Carley point from play then a 65, then a Michael Jacob point put them 2 ahead into injury time. John Devane then burst out from the full back line but instead of clearing went on a solo run, lay on the ball, and conceded a free which Carley pointed. He added another to leave to put Wexford 4 up. At the end, Des Mythen was yellow carded and replaced by Chris McGrath. Tipp had a 65 at the end but it was cleared and Wexford had won by 2-19 to 2-15.
Wexford manager will be delighted with this win. 5 points down at the break 6 down 10 minutes into the second and yet then powered through in the last quarter to score 8 points in the last 10 minutes to comfortable win the game. They also had to win without their 2 first choice centre backs; Stamp and Lyng but with Paul Carley in impressive form up front, 11 points they fully deserved their 4 point victory. They played at a pedestrian pace in the first half but once the ante was upped in the second half they were the superior team. Others to impress were David O’Brien and Redmond Barry.
Ken Hogan will not be impressed. Again Tipp’s inability to close out a game came back to shoot the. Ok the loss of Philip Maher and Eamon Corcoran made Tipp look very shaky at the back. Up front the lack scoring forwards will be a major cause of concern. Some of Hogan’s calls were unusual, not putting Paul Curran to full back, leaving Tom King and Diarmaid Fitzgerald at midfield for most of the second half when Tipp were not winning a ball there cost Tipp dearly. Why Paul Kelly was not brought on at midfield to shore this area up I don’t know. Tipp looked comfortable in the first half when Wexford stood off them and allowed the Tipp players time on the ball. However once Wexford went up the gears in the second half the Tipp players who impressed in the first half, Kennedy and O’Leary found less time on the ball and Tipp struggled for large spells. Again the amount of wides and aimless shooting by the Tipp forwards is worrying. If Tipp have this much trouble hanging onto a lead in March it does not bode good for the Championship.

Player Rating:
Damien Young: On as a late replacement for Cummins. Could not be faulted for either goal as he was badly exposed by his full back line. Had a few poor puck outs, which lead directly to Wexford scores. Not as commanding of his area as Cummins.

Full Back Line: As a unit did not look solid once Philip Maher went off. Martin Maher in his first League start of the year looked rusty and was a fault for the first goal. Philip Maher made some great catches and clearances but was yellow carded after about 15 minutes. Paul Curran was too easily rounded by his man for the second Wexford goal and did not look as assured as normal.

Half Back Line: Hugh Moloney was a late replacement for Eamon Corcoran. While his man Paul Carley scored 11 points most of those were from frees. Not his best day for Tipp, was caught in possession too often. David Kennedy did very well in the first half when Wexford stood off Tipp but once they stepped up the gears was well off the pace before being replaced. Declan Fanning not as good as he was against Limerick but was fighting against a determined Wexford attack all of the second half.

Midfield: Morrissey went off injured just before the break just after scoring a point. Slevin went off injured in the second half. He scored a point from a free and missed a few more still not up to this level. Both had bee quiet up to then but Wexford dominated around the midfield especially when David O’Brien went out there.

Half Forward Line: Mark O’Leary had one of his better games. Took his goal well in the first half and scored 2-second half points with Tipp under severe pressure. Francis Devanney scored 2 first half points but faded for most of the second and was lucky to see out all of the second half. Benny Dunne scored a second half pint and moved to midfield late on. Did very little of note.

Full Forward Line: Evan Sweeney took his goal well after being set up by Webster. Only scored a point from a free. Missed at least 2 more goals despite getting into good positions. Free taking poor as well. Webster scored 3 points in total as well as winning numerous frees and setting up the goal. He was marked by one of Wexford’s best players in Declan Ruth and more then held his own against him. Not the most stylish of players but did very well. Paddy O’Brien anonymous except for his 3 second half frees.

John Devane for Philip Maher: Despite being Man of the Match in the Fitzgibbon Cup Final last weekend had a very poor game. Did not command his area with authority and did way too many pointless solo runs instead of clearing the ball.
Tom King for Colin Morrissey (injured): Went midfield despite being a wingback. Looked a bit out of place although he did score a point.
Diarmaid Fitzgerald for Tadhg Slevin (injured): Went midfield for a while and looked off the pace was a bit better when he settled in at wingback late on.
Eoin Kelly for David Kennedy: Had 2 chances, the first a wide soon after he came on and at the end a shot for goal which was cleared.
Seamus Butler for Evan Sweeney: Only on for the last 5 minutes.

So Tipp’s 100% record is gone. This was a game that should have been won. Tipp dominated for large spells, took their goals when they were presented, but still allowed Wexford back in and dictate the tempo of the game in the last quarter. The loss of key players, Philip Maher and Corcoran could be used to explain the loss but come the Championship Tipp will face a lot harder, and tougher teams that will require every player to stand up and be counted. Tipp now go to Belfast next Sunday to get their League campaign back on track.


Tipperary v Wexford (13-03-2005) Preview. Knocknagow

Tipp and Wexford play their third game of the National Hurling League in Semple Stadium, Thurles on Sunday at 2.30. The ref for the game is Seanie McMahon of Clare. Tipp won the corresponding fixture for the past two years very convincingly on a score line of 3-21 to 1-11, in Nenagh, two years ago and by 4-18 to 1-13, in Wexford Park last year. Tipp dominated the game from the start and through goals from Lar Corbett and John Carroll (2) lead 3-12 to 1-4 at the break. The second half was played at a pedestrian pace as Tipp scored another 9 points, and a Lar Corbett goal, to win comfortably. Diarmaid Fitzgerald, John Carroll and Lar Corbett were the best for Tipp.
Wexford have won one and lost one of their League games so far. On the first day of the League they beat Antrim in Belfast by 2-12 to 1-9. Antrim scored a goal by Michael Herron to trail at the break by 1-6 to 1-5. Early in the second half Wexford gaoled and held on for an unconvincing win. Their second game was two weeks ago against Cork in Wexford Park. The game was level pegging throughout Paul Carley the main scorer for Wexford from frees but it was a goal from Timmy McCarthy mid way through the second half, and a later Joe Deane free, which saw Cork squeeze home by 1-13 to 0-15.

While Tipp had no National League game at the weekend all of the players were involved in action at the weekend. In the Fitzgibbon Cup, Eoin Kelly played a staring role when he scored 1-8 from full forward as he captained LIT to their fisrt victory in the tournament. The rest of the Tipp team were involved with the county side in a tournament game in Thurles. Tipp had a very inexperienced side out and got well beaten by a clinical Kilkenny side 1-23 to 2-15 with Tipp’s goals coming late on. Best for Tipp were Martin Maher, (returning from injury) and Declan Fanning who impressed at centre back. The game also saw the return of Diarmaid Fitzgerald who was out with a knee injury, and Lar Corbett who has returned from Australia was on the subs bench.
Tipp have had two League wins so far but serious questions remain after both of them. The first was against Down in Thurles. Tipp lead 8-7 at the break and with the wind at their backs in the second half they should have pulled away, however two second half goals from Eoin Clarke left Down 2 points ahead 3 minutes into injury time. Tipp then cut loose in the 11 minutes of injury time with Michael Webster setting up Evan Sweeney for the first goal, scored the second one himself, and setting up Darragh Egan for the third goal. So Tipp pulled through to win by 3-17 to 2-12 with Evan Sweeney top scorer with 1-6, (1-1 from play).
The second game was against Limerick two weeks ago, and any analysis of the game should be done in full light of the subsequent implosion in the Limerick managerial camp. Tipp had a lot stronger and more experienced side out and lead after 25 minutes by 1-3 to 0-4 with the goal coming from Michael Webster. Tipp followed before the break with goals from Francis Devaney and Darragh Egan to lead 3-6 to 0-7. Tipp ended the game with Evan Sweeney goaled early in the second half. The game seemed to be drifting to its inevitable conclusion before Andrew O’Shaughnessy and Donie Ryan scored last minute gaols but Tipp held on to win 4-14 to 3-11. Evan Sweeney was again the top scorer with 1-6, 1-1 from play. Declan Fanning at wingback was the TG4 man of the match.
Wexford will have to plan for this game without their influential full back Darragh Ryan who is still troubled with a persistent knee injury. Paul Codd is not part of the panel at the moment. However with Doc O’Connor at full back and Paul Carley, (16 points), performing well so far in the League their loss will not be felt too much.

The Tipp team was announced last night and line out as follows:
Brendan Cummins.
Martin Maher, Philip Maher and Paul Curran.
Declan Fanning, David Kennedy and Eamon Corcoran.
Colin Morrissey and Tadgh Slevin.
Mark O’Leary, Francis Devaney and Benny Dunne.
Evan Sweeney, Michael Webster and Paddy O’Brien.

This shows 3 changes from the team that beat Limerick. Martin Maher comes in at corner back in place of Hugh Moloney who can consider himself unlucky to be dropped. There are 2 changes in the forwards with the Toomevara pair Benny Dunne, (the Tipp captain for the year), and Paddy O’Brien replacing Donal Shelly and the ineffective Seamus Butler. Brendan Cummins has recovered from twisting his ankle against Limerick and lines out in goals. Eoin Kelly is rested after his exertions with LIT last weekend.
While the Tipp forwards have been doing well up to now, 7-31, without Eoin Kelly the quality of the opposition has to be taken into account. Also against Limerick they only scored a point in the last 15 minutes, which will not be good enough come the summer. It is good to see Michael Webster at full forward. While he is not the most mobile or accurate of players he is a great target man and a good player to catch a high ball in the air, something we have missed badly in Tipp since Declan Ryan retired. While he may be found out against some of the more experienced full backs he will be a hand full standing at the edge of the square. He would be an ideal foil to Eoin Kelly. Both of the “new” forwards, Francis Devanney and Evan Sweeney have only impressed in patches and both seem too small and light to make an impression come the heat of Championship. Tadgh Slevin of Borriskane gets a third chance in midfield as he partners Colin Morrissey. Slevin reminds me of a younger Noel Morris. While he puts in a lot of work under the breaking ball his striking is poor and is not up to Senior Intercounty level.

While the backs have conceded 5-23 so far the loss of Brendan Cummins midway through the second half of the Limerick game saw Tipp unsettled. The return of the Championship full back line from last year should see Tipp less porous. The continued selection of David Kennedy at centre back is baffling. He has poor command of his area, poor quality clearances and lacks the authority required for centre back. The sooner that a half back line of Diarmaid Fitzgerald, Declan Fanning and Eamon Corcoran is in place the better for Tipp. Hugh Flannery or possibly Eamon Corcoran should be given a number of games at centre back and not have the same situation come Championship, like last year, where Fitzgerald was put at centre back despite never having played there in the League!

This game should hopefully be closer than the corresponding fixtures over the last 2 years, which Tipp won comfortably. Wexford under new manager, Seamus Murphy, will want to keep up his good start to the League and will be mindful of the result of the last 2 years. The main thing for Tipp will be to concede fewer score, especially goals in the closing stages of the game. One pleasing aspect has been that 3 different players have scored goals twice and the points have been spread fairly evenly among the 6 starting forwards. So in a tight low scoring game Tipp to win by 5-6 points.


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