Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Quarter-Final – Tipperary 1-16 Offaly 0-13

Tipperary defeated Offaly by 1-16 to 1-13 in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Quarter-Final on Sunday March 29th at O’Connor Park Tullamore.


Hurling Q-F: Tipperary battle past Offaly

ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 1 QUARTER-FINAL: OFFALY 0-13 TIPPERARY 1-16

Tipperary came through a tempestuous battle with Offaly in O’Connor Park and eventually secured their place in the semi-finals of the Allianz Hurling League by a six point margin, but their win came at a price as they lost Kieran Bergin to a serious injury early in the second half, while Seamus Callanan was shown a straight red card for an off the ball strike on Dermot Shortt.

The Premier men played with the aid of a fiercely strong breeze in the first half and after both sides traded early points, Tipp tacked on 1-11 while conceding just a solitary point in reply over the next 25 minutes. They led by 1-14 to 0-4 at half time, but they never regained that momentum once Callanan saw red two minutes after the restart.

The Premier County were further depleted when they lost Cathal Barrett to a second yellow with six minutes to play, but by then they had given themselves enough cushion to hold out in the face of a late Offaly onslaught.

The Leinster side held Tipp to just a solitary point over the last half an hour of this tie, but they had sustained far too much damage in the early stages, particularly considering the excellent form of Darragh Egan in the Tipperary goal. The Kildangan clubman was rock solid under the high ball over the course of the tie, while he also produced four top quality saves, including three in the last five minutes, to deny Offaly the goal that they badly needed to set up a grandstand finish.

Perhaps mindful of their poor second half performances against the wind at the same venue against Waterford and Wexford this spring, Offaly captain Dan Currams elected to face the breeze in the opening half after winning the toss, and that decision appeared to be the correct one in the early exchanges when the home side appeared to be the more tuned in out of the two teams.
Séamus Callanan and Shane Dooley exchanged points in the first seven minutes, while Offaly could have taken the lead were it not for a couple of poorly struck attempts on goal. They started to sustain a series of blows from the tenth minute onwards, however, and then were truly rocked back on their heels after 18 minutes when Callanan cut in along the left hand end line and blasted an acute angle shot past James Dempsey for a simply stunning goal to push Tipp eight points in front.

Shane Dooley broke Tipp’s run of scores with a free in response, but Tipperary continued to pile on the pressure and with Kieran Bergin (midfield) and Brendan Maher (centre-forward) both in control of their key diamond position battles, they accumulated a healthy thirteen point half time lead. Both players posted three points from play in the tie, which will make Tipperary supporters all the more hopeful regarding Bergin’s ankle injury that necessitated a quick trip to the neighbouring hospital, a blow that was sustained early in the second half.

Stripped of both Callanan and Bergin, two of their leading performers up to that point, Tipperary were briefly stung into action in the early minutes of the second half. Ronan Maher struck a rousing score from fifty metres – a Herculean effort given the strength of the wind – to raise the volume of the substantial away contingent out of the 4,234 supporters in attendance, but few would have imagined that Tipp would add just one more point over the course of the remainder of the tie.

Offaly’s defence appeared far more assured with the assistance of an extra man but while they stopped the bleeding at one end of the field, they were slow to set about eating into the lead at the other.

Tipperary maintained their double figure lead up until the 58th minute, when points from Stephen Quirke and Shane Dooley inside 60 seconds gave Offaly a little bit of momentum. Faithful County manager Brian Whelahan has had to perform something of a juggling act this year with most of his forward players far more comfortable in the inside forward line rather than out on the 45, and there was further evidence of this when Brian Carroll took the tie by the scruff of the neck once moved up to top of the right for the last 15 minutes. The Coolderry native drove at the Tipperary goal to great effect, setting up one close range free and drawing a penalty, also causing Cathal Barrett to receive a second yellow card for the former offence.

However, both of Shane Dooley’s placed ball attempts were deflected to safety by Darragh Egan, and while Carroll had a half chance of his own to hit the net in injury time, his first time lift and strike from the right edge of the large square fizzed inches over the crossbar, preserving the Tipperary ‘keeper’s hard earned clean sheet.
***
Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley 0-7 (0-3f, 0-1 ‘65), J Bergin, S Quirke & B Carroll 0-2 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: S Callanan 1-6 (0-4f), K Bergin & B Maher 0-3 each, J Forde, R Maher, N McGrath, N O’Meara 0-1 each.

OFFALY: J Dempsey; D King, D Shortt, S Wynne; C Parlon, C Egan, P Camon; S Ryan, B Carroll; C Kiely, J Bergin, E Nolan; S Dooley, D Currams, S Quirke
Subs: T Carroll for Ryan (31), C Mulrooney for Currams (44)

TIPPERARY: D Egan; P Stapleton, C O’Mahony, C Barrett; M Breen, Pádraic Maher, R Maher; J Woodlock, K Bergin; J Forde, B Maher, Patrick Maher; N McGrath, S Callanan, N O’Meara
Subs: S McGrath for Bergin (44), S Bourke for O’Meara (57), C Kenny for Forde (61), Sean Maher for Patrick Maher (69)

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)
***
Report: Kevin Egan for GAA.ie


Team News

The Tipperary Senior Hurling team to play Offaly in the Allianz Hurling League quarter final in O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Sunday next, March 29th, at 3pm, has been announced.

Eamon O’Shea has made 3 changes to the starting 15 that lined out against Cork last Sunday. Having recovered from a bout of flu, Cathal Barrett returns to the inside back line while Michael Breen and James Woodlock hold onto their midfield positions after being introduced last week. Upfront the forward line remains intact.

The team lines out as follows;

Darragh Egan (Kildangan), Paddy Stapleton (Borris Ileigh), Conor O’Mahony (Newport), Cathal Barrett (Holycross Ballycahill), Kieran Bergin (Killenaule), Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), James Woodlock (Drom & Inch), Michael Breen (Ballina), John O’Dwyer (Killenaule), Brendan Maher – Capt. (Borris Ileigh), Jason Forde (Silvermines), Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney), Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch), Niall O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs).

Offaly SH team to play Tipperary in Q/F of the Allianz Hurling League

1. James Dempsey
2. Niall Wynne
3. Dermot Short
4. David King
5. Cathal Parlon
6. Colin Egan
7. Eanna Murphy
8. Sean Ryan
9. Pat Camon
10.Brian Carroll
11.Joe Bergin
12.Emmet Nolan
13.Stephen Quirke
14.Dan Currams (Capt)
15.Shane Dooley