Dublin forward sets up victory for new boss.
A defensive masterclass from Dublin saw them comfortably beat Tipperary by 2-20 to 0-14 at Parnell Park. Eamon O’Shea will have been hugely disappointed with his sides wasteful first half performance, as he watched them hit ten wides, with Jason Forde and Seamus Callanan contributing four each. Ger Cunningham on the other hand, will be much more pleased with what he saw. His Dublin side saw a few familiar faces in unfamiliar positions, as Conal Keaney spent the majority of the match in the half-back line, alongside Peter Kelly in his new role at centre-back, and man-of-the-match Shane Durkin. Both were immense. Where Tipperary at times looked laboured, Dublin were buzzing from the first minute. Danny Sutcliffe controlled midfield, and hit one of the scores of the game in the early stages following some excellent passing between Michael Carton and Shane Durkin down the right.
Callanan had put the Premier county into an early lead, but Dublin responded immediately with a great point from Eamonn Dillon, who showed a lightning quick turn of pace to beat Conor O’Mahony. Tipperary had plenty of the ball, and continued to create scoring chances of their own, yet they failed to raise a white flag far too often. The succession of wides, O’Shea insists, is the not the main cause of concern. “The wides happen, it’s not the most disappointing thing, the opposition were hungrier for the ball , they were on a roll and its hard to get back then when that happens. I’d be thinking that they’re be other days.” There certainly will, and O’Sheas side will certainly not find themselves lining up against too many defences as determined and dogged of that of Dublin yesterday. If it were not for the second-half heroics of John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer, the 12 point gap between the sides at the final whistle would have be even more.
Of course, a strong defensive showing isn’t enough to win a Div. 1A game, and the efforts of the back six were matched by that of the forwards, who chased down every ball as if their life depended on it. Paul Ryan supplied eight points of the final tally, three of which came from play, while Liam Rushe made himself a constant nuisance. Dublin’s first goal arrived after 16 minutes, a clever pass from Rushe finding the onrushing Eamon Dillon, who made no mistake in firing low past Damien Gleeson. Things could have been worse for Gleeson, after Rushe put pressure on the keeper after he failed to pick up a loose ball. Gleeson over-carried, and Paul Ryan pointed the resulting free. Gleeson got off easy. Dublin went in at the half with at 1-11 to 0-5 lead.
Following the restart, it seemed business as usual. Callanan dragged a free wide, Dublin responded with a superb point from Shane Durkin. Tipperary went to plan B, dropping in high balls for Callanan, but Michael Carton won the battle. Another man playing in new surroundings at full back, the O’Toole’s man was delighted to keep a clean sheet against a side that started with six All-Stars, ” Its completely different for me but it’s a bit of a challenge. I think this is my thirteenth season now so change is a good thing, I’m enjoying it. We kept a clean sheet which I’m delighted about , so it’s a good start to the league. It’s such a hard league, every game you play is going to be difficult, so to start off and get two points at home is fantastic.”
Shane McGrath failed to return to the action after the break following a heavy collision with Keaney, which O’Shea confirming he’s likely to be missing for a few weeks with a suspected concussion. His team-mates simply couldn’t live with Dublin’s intensity. Rushe came out to half-forward and stretched the lead to ten points with a well taken point. John O’Dwyer took over free-taking duties from Callanan, and followed a successful dead-ball with two further points, cutting the difference to eight. Unfortunately for O’Dwyer, he seemed to be the only one up to speed , and his efforts simply kept the scoreline respectable, as Paul Schutte and Conal Keaney continually came away with the ball.
Rushe was rewarded with a last-minute goal following another Keaney clearance, but manager Ger Cunningham knows there’s tougher tests ahead.” It’s a great start, but it’s the first match of the season, so it gives us a big base to build on. It’s a whole new challenge next week down in Nolan Park, we saw what Kilkenny did last night. We’re trying to build a fortress here, we’ve three games in Dublin, two here and one in Croke Park, and it’s important for our league prospects to win our home matches. Hopefully it sends out a message to the Dublin supporters to support the team.
It’s important to try build up hurling, and there’s no better way than young guys coming out to support their own team. It’s a good start and we’re delighted.”
Yellow Card: C Keaney 35, R O'Dwyer 61
Wides: (5) 10
Scorers: P Ryan 0-8 (4f, 1 45'), E Dillon 1-2, L Rushe 1-1, M Schutte, D Sutcliffe 0-2 each, C Crummey, S Durkin, C Cronin, R O'Dwyer, C Boland 0-1 each.
Tipperary: D Gleeson; C Barrett, P Curran, Joe O'Dwyer (M Breen 66); K Bergin, C O'Mahony (C O'Brien 51), P Maher; S McGrath (T Stapleton 35), B Maher; D Maher (R Maher 35), G Ryan (C Kenny 43), J Woodlock; John O'Dwyer, S Callanan, J Forde
Yellow Card: P Maher 15, Joe O'Dwyer 47,
Wides: (10) 15
Scorers: John O'Dwyer 0-6 (1f), S Callana 0-4 (3f), J Forde (1f), J Woodlock, S McGrath, C O'Brien 0-1 each
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)