Leinster U 21 Football League, Rd 1
Tipperary v Down, Hawkfield, Saturday January 2nd
Final Score – Tipperary 1–11 Down 0-13
On Saturday last Tipperary’s Under 21 Footballers were the first of our county teams to get the 2016 competitive action underway and made a well deserved winning start in seeing off Down by the minimum margin in a very competitive first round Leinster League tie on a score line of 1-11 to 0-13.
Played at Kildare’s GAA Centre at Hawkfield in Newbridge, Tipp set the pace right from the throw in and with the Paul Shanahan and Gerry Cronin combination enjoying a near monopoly of possession at midfield, the Tipp forwards saw plenty ball coming their way and put it to good use with points by Stephen Quirke (free), Paul Maher and Liam Casey before Down opened their account with a close in pointed free with ten minutes gone.
Despite missing three gilt edged goal opportunities Tipp continued to make possession pay off with points by Joe Ryan (free), Stephen Quirke (2) and Paul Shanahan all on target while Down added three further points to leave Tipp ahead at the break, 0-7 to 0-4.
The second half saw Down emerge a different side and with a number of personnel changes and employing a sweeper as opposed to the conventional first half formation, they began to attack in waves and with Tipp appearing to lose their way, they went on to reel off four points without reply for a one point lead.
With the game approaching the last quarter and with Tipp looking like they would rue those missed first half goal chances a breakthrough came their way and a passing movement involving Stephen Quirke, Joe Ryan and Liam Casey saw Brendan Martin finish it off with the only goal of the game to put Tipp back in front by two points.
Both sides continued to trade points in the last quarter with further points by Liam Casey, Brendan Martin, Stephen Quirke, and Joe Ryan (free) and with the Tipp backs having to soak up an amount of Down pressure as they went in search of the levelling score, they held out for a well deserved win on a final tally of 1-11 to Downs 0-13.
Overall a good all round Tipp performance and given that a number of the panel were unavailable because of McGrath Cup duty the following day against Clare, it certainly augers well for the year ahead.
Final Score, Tipperary 1-11 Down 0-13
Next up for Tipperary is Laois in Round 2, this Saturday January 9th in Dr Morris Pk, throw in 4pm.
Tipperary, Jack Brady (Ballina), Danny Owens (Moyle Rovers), Pearse Richardson (Arravale Rovers), Tadgh Fitzgerald (Moyle Rovers), Emmett Moloney (Drom Inch), Luke Boland (Moyle Rovers), Shane O’Connell (Golden/Kilfeacle, Paul Shanahan (Upperchurch-Drombane) 0-1, Gerry Cronin (Ardfinnan), Aidan Buckley (St Patricks), Stephen Quirke (Moyle Rovers) 0-4, (2 frees/2 play), Paul Maher (Kilsheelan/Kilcash) 0-1, Brendan Martin (Kilsheelan/Kilcash) 1-1, Liam Casey (Cahir) 0-2, Joe Ryan (Ballincolling) 0-2 frees.
Subs used: Niall McKenna (Cahir), Ciaran Lowry (Arravale Rovers), Liam Fahey (Rockwell Rovers), Ted Lowry (Arravale Rovers).
Charlie Manton (Fethard) completed the squad.
Report by Tommy Fitzgerald on behalf of Tipperary Under 21 Football