O’Neill weaves his magic as Premier class shines through 

Tipperary 3-21 Limerick 1-12 ,

by Diarmuid O’Flynn of the Irish Examiner newspaper

A MAGNIFICENT second-half performance saw reigning Munster and All-Ireland minor champions Tipperary get their 2008 campaign off to an impressive start in Semple Stadium last evening.

Ahead by just two points at the break, 2-5 to 0-9, with the strong breeze at their backs they were very quickly back in full stride, and 1-4 without reply saw them power into a three-goal lead, 3-9 to 0-9. Game over. Credit to Limerick, who never stopped battling, but on a fine evening for hurling, beautiful sod, they were simply outclassed.

Despite facing the elements, Tipperary made the better start, 1-2 to 0-0 ahead after 10 minutes. The goal was the result of hard work and skill, the hard work done by bustling full-forward Brian O’Meara, who got his hurley to a Limerick clearance, the skill from centre-forward Thomas Butler and corner-forward Kieran Morris, Butler setting up Morris for the first of his two first-half goals. After those initial setbacks Limerick twice came to within a point of Tipp in the next 15 minutes, courtesy of four fine strikes from placed balls by corner-forward Kevin Downes, further points from centre-forward Seán Madden (giving stand-in Tipp centre-back Noel McGrath problems) and winger Seánie O’Brien, in reply to a Tipp point from Paddy Murphy, which left it at 1-4 to 0-6 in the 26th minute.

Then came the second Tipperary goal. Butler at centre-forward did the early damage, the setup work, then midfielder Joe Gallagher with a good ball to “Kiwi” Morris in the corner. The Moycarkey-Borris star swivelled to get inside his marker, Cathal McNamara left with no chance in the Limerick goal. Limerick did strike back for two more points before the break, one each from Madden and Downes, but with that breeze to come, the signs were ominous because of the potency in this Tipperary attack.

What manager Declan Ryan and coach Tommy Dunne have built again this year is a Tipperary team of all the talents. Superb blocking, tackling, hooking, harassing. They have an impressive keeper in Bill McCormack, they have size in all the pivotal positions, a massive ball-winning half-forward line, but most of all, they have class. Superb stickmen with lovely touches. Having done the groundwork in the first half, they now started to display all those skills. The unfortunate men in green were almost as much spectators as the 1,531 in the stand.

Most mesmeric of all those magicians was corner-forward John O’Neill. A star with the Thurles CBS team which lost epics in both the Harty Cup final and the All-Ireland final to De La Salle of Waterford, the Clonoulty-Rossmore corner-forward was on fire, with seven superb points from play. One of five starters from last year’s crop, O’Neill was the star of this show. When centre-back James Barry recovers from injury, Noel McGrath rejoins that attack, who will stop them from winning three-in-a-row?

Limerick, had worthy performers themselves in wing-back Mark Deegan, in Madden, Downes and O’Brien up front, midfielder Graham Mulcahy also showing well. Work to do, however, and plenty of it.

Scorers – Tipperary: K. Morris 2-4 (0-4 frees); J. O’Neill 0-7; B. O’Meara 1-0; P. Murphy 0-2; R. Gleeson 0-2; J. O’Dwyer 0-2; N. McGrath (free), J. Gallagher, T. Butler, C. Ryan, 0-1 each.

Limerick: K. Downes 0-7 (0-5 frees, 0-1 65); S. Bulfin 1-0; S. Madden 0-2; S. O’Brien, M. Deegan (free), G. Mulcahy, 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: B. McCormack; L. Butler, K. O’Gorman, S. O’Brien; C. Haugh, N. McGrath (c), E. O’Connell; J. Gallagher, A. Ryan; K. Murphy, T. Butler, P. Murphy; K. Morris, B. O’Meara, J. O’Neill. Subs: R. Gleeson (Haugh 30); J. O’Dwyer (K. Murphy 30); P. Acheson (O’Meara 50); P. O’Brien (O’Connell 50); C. Ryan (O’Neill 55).

LIMERICK: C. McNamara; B. Cleary, J. O’Callaghan, P. Ryan; M. Deegan, K. Kennedy, P. Begley; G. Mulcahy, T. Fleming; N. Kennedy, S. Madden, S. O’Brien; K. Downes, J. Greaney, E. O’Sullivan. Subs: D. Madden (Ryan 29); S. Bulfin (Greaney 30); R. O’Shaughnessy (O’Sullivan 50).

Referee: C. Lyons (Cork). Good job.


ALL-Ireland champions Tipperary powered their way to a comfortable win over Limerick at Semple Stadium.


From the Irish Independent newspaper

Tipp got off to a flying start with a goal from Kieran Morris after two minutes. Limerick settled and came within a point but a second Morris goal gave the home side a 2-5 to 0-9 half-time lead.

Tipp took control after the break with a Brian O’Meara goal and won easily in the end.

SCORERS — Tipperary: K Morris 2-4, J O’Neill 0-7, B O Meara 1-0, P Murphy, R Gleeson, J O’Dwyer 0-2 each, N McGrath, C Ryan, J Gallagher, T Butler 0-1 each. Limerick: K Downes 0-7, S Bulfin 1-0, S Madden 0-2, S O’Brien, M Deegan, G Mulcahy 0-1 each.

Tipperary — B McCormack; L Butler, K O’Gorman, S O’Brien; C Haugh, N McGrath, E O’Connell; J Gallagher, A Ryan; K Murphy, T Butler, P Murphy; K Morris, B O’Meara, J O’Neill. Subs: R Gleeson for Haugh; J O’Dwyer for Murphy; P Acheson for O’Meara; P O’Brien for O’Connell; C Ryan for O’Neill.

Limerick — C McNamara; B Cleary, J O’Callaghan, P Ryan; M Deegan, K Kennedy, P Begley; G Mulcahy, T Flemming; N Kennedy, S Madden, S O’Brien; K Downes, J Greaney, E O’Sullivan. Subs: D Madden for Ryan; S Bulfin for Greaney; R O Shaughnessy for O Sullivan.

REF — C Lyons (Cork)

Leave a Reply