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Tipperary 2-23 Dublin 0-24 — match reaction from Croke Park

Shane Stapleton was at Croke Park to see the league meeting of Dublin v Tipperary — with the Premier County taking the spoils

Shane Stapleton was at Croke Park to see the league meeting of Dublin v Tipperary.

Tipperary would never have expected to wait three and a half years to return to Croke Park after winning the All-Ireland final in August of 2019.

It has been a painful few seasons in the meantime, but Liam Cahill will have been pleased with this controlled winning performance against Dublin.

Conor Bowe and Jason Forde stretched the net in the second half to keep the hosts at arm’s length, with Donal Burke’s 15 points maintaining Dublin’s grip on the visitors’ coattails.

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There were flashes of class from Tipperary at times, but this is a team that is more about the sum of its parts. Hunting in packs, taking the man on, playing the percentages — the modern way has arrived at one of the traditional powers.

When two teams play this way, it doesn’t always make for exciting hurling and, allied to the muted atmosphere at Croke Park, it produced a tame affair. The players were giving it their all, but the game never caught fire, save for the incredible scoring display of Burke.

Dublin created 27 scoring chances in the first half but converted just 13, with nine of those courtesy of Burke’s Rolex wrists. Alex Considine also chipped in with a couple, as his battle with full-back Bryan O’Mara developed into a fascinating subplot.

The Dublin man got out in front to win several balls, but had three shots in a row blocked down by O’Mara before firing over two before half time.

Tipperary’s midfield and half-forward line initially struggled to impact the game, and yet they established a one-point interval lead by dint of an 82% scoring efficiency — 14 points from 17 attempts. Forde pitched in with seven of those (six frees), with a pair of points each from Mark Kehoe, Gearoid O’Connor and Seamus Kennedy.

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Kehoe had a sniff of a goal chance on 24 minutes when Forde lofted a stick pass over the cover, but the claustrophobic nature of Eoghan O’Donnell’s closing-down forced the forward to take his point.

Cillian Costello was one of three Naomh Barrog players starting for Dublin and he had a goal chance on 18 minutes, but O’Mara got in a hook at the crucial moment.

A lack of scoring forwards has long been an impediment of Dublin’s, and the absences of Ronan Hayes and Cian O’Sullivan have exacerbated the issue. Cian Boland was a bright spark but failed to score, Danny Sutcliffe and Fergal Whitely were well-marshalled, as too few Dublin men impacted the proceedings.

Tipperary led 0-16 to 0-14 on 39 minutes when Kehoe took off inside the Dublin ‘45 and got his head up. The ball was transferred to Bowe, who drove the ball low past Sean Brennan.

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Donal Burke and Considine dragged their side back into it but then the latter was beaten to a low ball into the attack by Tipp’s O’Mara.

The full-back sent the ball to the clouds, and it hit the turf in the space between a retreating full-back line and the advancing goalkeeper, with Forde getting there first to cheekily flick the ball home.

At 2-19 to 0-19 ahead with 18 minutes of normal time remaining, Dublin needed goals, and twice they looked to force low-percentage attempts.

Boland checked inside and tried his luck from the ‘21 with no luck, while substitute Paul Crummey saw goalkeeper Barry Hogan bat away his shot from a narrow angle.

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When they did finally breach the goalline late on after a long Conor Burke free drifted to the net, referee Paud O’Dwyer pulled it back for a square ball.

Tipperary kept the scoreboard ticking down the stretch. Former rugby prospect Alan Tynan popped over two and O’Connor took over the frees and slotted over a pair to bring the overall tally to 2-23.

Three wins from three, a score difference of +31, and the high likelihood of a league semi-final after their meetings with Waterford and Antrim, Cahill has quickly turned a ragged Tipperary outfit into a promising project.

DUBLIN: Brennan; Bellew, O’Donnell, Doyle; Madden, C Burke (0-1), Gray (0-1); Donohoe, O’Leary (0-1); D Burke (0-15; 0-6f, 0-1 ‘65) (Currie, 64 mins (0-1)), Sutcliffe (Leavy, 61 mins), Boland, Whitely (Keogh, 61 mins), Considine (0-3) (Crummey, 55 mins (0-1)) Costello (Flanagan, 53 mins (0-1f))

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TIPPERARY: Hogan; McCarthy, O’Mara, Ryan; Breen, R Maher, B McGrath (0-1) (N McGrath, 34 mins); Stakelum (Bowe, half time (1-0)), McCormack; Tynan (0-2), O’Connor (0-4; 0-2f) (O’Dwyer, 68 mins), Kennedy (0-2) (Callanan, 55 mins); Forde (1-10; 0-8f) (P Maher, 62 mins), Morris (0-1), Kehoe (0-3)

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