Galway hit form to leave leaky Tipp at rock bottom

Galway hit form to leave leaky Tipp at rock bottom

Galway 3-16 Tipperary 1-19 ALLIANZ NHL DIV 1A

 

  • Noel McGrath, Tipperary, in action against Conor Cooney, Galway
Noel McGrath, Tipperary, in action against Conor Cooney, Galway

MARTIN BREHENY – PUBLISHED 17 MARCH 2014 02:30 AM Irish Independent

Raised voices piercing through the walls of the Tipperary dressing-rooms after their third successive defeat embodied the sense of frustration coursing through a squad that just can’t fix the leaks.

Hit for 5-20 by Kilkenny and for 4-15 by Clare in the previous two rounds, Tipperary headed for Pearse Stadium – usually a fruitful hunting ground – determined to stop the bleeding, only to concede 3-16, which took their average concession for three games to 4-17.

It is defending at a chaotic level and leaves Tipperary with definite relegation concerns ahead of the final group game against Dublin next Sunday.

Just as they did against Clare a week earlier, Tipperary left themselves with far too much to do after a first half where Galway scored all three goals to leave them with a match-winning cushion to take into the second half.

To add to Galway’s comfort, they had the fresh wind behind them in the second half, adding to the workload of a Tipperary team whose first-half performance wasn’t exactly overloaded with drive or energy.

That may have led to the post-match angst in the dressing-room, as very few of the Tipp players could have been happy with their effort in the first half.

The Tribesmen, in contrast, were sharp, focused and very effective. They led by four points after eight minutes and, equally importantly, had taken control of several key sectors.

SUPERIOR

Their touch was slick, their reactions fast and their pursuit of work and responsibility so vastly superior to their rivals that their interval lead of 3-8 to 0-9 was a totally accurate reflection of the exchanges.

The only real threat to their goal came in the sixth minute when Colm Callanan was forced into two excellent saves.

At the other end, Tipperary had their security code unpicked on three occasions by Niall Healy (20th minute), Conor Cooney (26th-minute penalty) and Jonathan Glynn (31st minute).

Glynn was a central figure in Galway’s impressive attacking axis in the first half, tormenting Paddy Stapleton in the air, which encouraged his colleagues to opt for route one from the middle third.

Hoisting the ball in Glynn’s direction proved very profitable for Galway and, surprisingly, Tipperary didn’t respond to his dominance until the 32nd minute when they dropped Padraic Maher back to take on the young Ardrahan man.

The move greatly increased stability in front of Darren Gleeson, who had some shaky moments in the first half but, with Tipperary facing the wind and an eight-point deficit in the second half, they were always likely to be bottom of the table at the end of proceedings.

Galway extended their lead to 11 points early in the second half before Tipperary finally raised their game.

Still, they were nine points down when Galway centre-back Iarla Tannian – who had played very well – was sent off on a second yellow card. It offered Tipperary a chink of hope and they went for it with a level of commitment and zeal that, had it applied in the first half, might have steered the contest in a very different direction.

Seamus Callanan scored 0-3 before whizzing a 20-metre free to the net in the 70th minute to cut the deficit to three points.

Galway had a few narrow escapes in stoppage-time but the Premier County just couldn’t get the final touch for a goal that would have earned them a precious point.

Tipperary manager Eamon O’Shea was the first to put his hand up to take responsibility for his side’s predicament and is clearly at a loss to figure out why the league campaign is proving so problematical.

“We’re not playing well and when that happens you have to look at the manager straight away,” he said.

“You probably won’t believe me but we had a very good week in training but when we get on the pitch (on match days) we seem to become very edgy.

“Figuring that out is down to me. We’re not making excuses. We had a very poor first half and while we did better in the second half, that performance wasn’t good enough.”

He stressed that he was getting 100pc effort from the squad in training but, for whatever reasons, the level of performance has been substandard against Kilkenny, Clare and Galway, leaving Tipperary with a problem that nobody would have envisaged when they beat Waterford in the first round.

The Tribesmen were in urgent need of a boost, too, after losing to Waterford and Kilkenny and duly delivered with a performance which – for about 50 minutes – was reminiscent of their opening-day heroics against Dublin.

Some of their first-half interplay was delightfully constructed, with players running into adventurous channels, taking the passes with impressive accuracy.

They were less fluent in the second half and, in the end, were hanging on desperately after conceding 1-3 in the final eight minutes.

ADVANTAGE

“The extra man gave Tipperary an advantage in the last 10 minutes – we didn’t come to terms with it as smartly as we should,” said manager Anthony Cunningham. “Still, it was a very good win for us. We’d be very happy with our first-half performance and with the overall work rate. We’ll just keep working and working.”

The victory gives Galway some breathing space as they look ahead to the clash with Clare next Sunday.

“Clare have qualified (for the quarter-finals), so maybe we’ll write them a letter during the week,” joked Cunningham.

It is all much more serious for Tipperary, who face a difficult week as they assess what has gone so seriously wrong with their defensive alignment. “We’re all disappointed with this performance but all we can do is work as hard as possible to turn things around,” said O’Shea.

Chief among the things to do is to tighten the defensive bolts after three grim days when they were so easily opened up.

Scorers – Galway: C Cooney (1-0pen, 0-3fs), N Healy 1-3 each, J Glynn 1-1,David Burke (0-1 s-l), P Brehony 0-3 each, J Coen, C Mannion, I Tannian 0-1 each. Tipperary: S Callanan 1-11 (1-8fs, 0-1 ’65’), S McGrath, J O’Dwyer, K Bergin 0-2 each, M Heffernan, N McGrath 0-1 each.

Galway – C Callanan 7; F Moore 7, R Burke 7, D Collins 7; A Harte 6, I Tannian 8, Daithi Burke 7; J Coen 8, P Brehony 8; G McInerney 6, C Cooney 7, David Burke 7; N Healy 8, J Glynn 8, C Mannion 6. Subs: N Burke 7 for McInerney (41), J Flynn 6for Mannion (57), D Glennon for Healy (67), P Killeen for Harte (70).

Tipperary – D Gleeson 5; C Barrett 6, P Stapleton 5, M Cahill 7; S McGrath 7 C O’Mahony 7, Padraic Maher 7; B Maher 6, J Woodlock 5; C Kenny 5, J O’Dwyer 7, Patrick Maher 5; N McGrath 5, S Callanan 7, M Heffernan 6. Subs: K Bergin 7 for Woodlock (23), E Kelly 5 for Kenny (32), D Maher 6 for N McGrath (ht), D Maher 5 for Heffernan (45), P Murphy for Cahill (62).

Referee – A Stapleton (Laois)

 

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