Tipp left with ‘work to do’ as Tribesmen finish strong

Tipp left with ‘work to do’ as Tribesmen finish strong

Galway 3-21 Tipperary 3-13, Allianz NHL Division 1 Group A

Shooting star: Galway’s Conor Whelan shoots to score his side’s second goal despite the efforts of Padraic Maher (right) and goalkeeper Brian Hogan during the Allianz NHL clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Shooting star: Galway’s Conor Whelan shoots to score his side’s second goal despite the efforts of Padraic Maher (right) and goalkeeper Brian Hogan during the Allianz NHL clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

This morning, Tipperary will gather at the airport and head for a training camp in Spain, safe in the knowledge that they have been in this position before and turned what had been an uninspiring spring into ultimate glory.

In 2019, Tipp headed abroad in March during an indifferent National League that saw them win just two of their five games.

This year, they head for sunnier climes with the exact same record and after a game that saw a seven-point lead at the break turn into a nine-point win for Galway.

Even allowing for the wind that whipped in off the Atlantic, it was a considerable turnaround. And for another side, it might be a worry. But afterwards, there was a sense from Liam Sheedy that the serious stuff starts here.

“There was a fine wind there, but it wasn’t about the wind,” Tipp boss Sheedy offered afterwards.

“It was about that Galway team in the second half that came at us, the crowd got behind them, the weather was coming at us and everything was coming at us and we just couldn’t find the answers.

John McGrath celebrates after scoring Tipperary's first goal. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

“That’s disappointing for us, but I suppose you’d rather have that element of a problem in early March. We went out on March 14 last year.

“I don’t think the League will define us; ultimately it will be all about the Championship but we have a lot of work to do. There is good character in that dressing room and those boys will be hurting this evening and they will go about their business but we have a lot of work to do.

Record

“I suppose we don’t have a wonderful record when we do go and win MacCarthy of coming back and getting to the required level. So we have a lot of work to do in the next number of weeks but I’d be very confident that this group will do the work that is required.”

Tipperary's Dillon Quirke under pressure from Aidan Harte, left, and Cathal Mannion of Galway. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Tipp led by seven points at the break, but perhaps that margin had been a little unfair on the home side. John McGrath plundered two excellent goals before Jason Forde got in on the act. Tipp put together a classy move that saw Pádraic Maher find Seamus Callanan who, after a beautiful touch, fed Cian Darcy.

Darcy split the Galway defence to put Forde one-on-one with James Skehill and he made no mistake.

That goal was part of a scoring burst just before the short whistle that saw Tipp outscore their hosts by 1-3 to 0-1 late in the day and give them a handsome lead at the break.

The Tribesmen had been level at the midway point of the first half thanks in part to the excellent free-taking of Evan Niland who didn’t blink when shooting into the teeth of the breeze. Niland finished the day with 14 points, 13 from placed balls.

Galway's Padraic Mannion is shown a yellow card by referee Johnny Murphy. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The second half was more open with Conor Whelan grabbing the first of his two goals in the 41st minute but it wasn’t until he grabbed his second on 57 minutes that Galway took the lead for the first time in the game.

From there, and with the majority of a 5,750 crowd roaring on their approval, Galway stretched for home. Jason Flynn steered over a beautiful sideline cut. Brian Concannon thrived in the quality and regularity of the service he was being provided with and worked well with Whelan.

And by the time Cathal Mannion grabbed Galway’s third goal, their place in the quarter-final to face Wexford had already long been assured.

“I thought we were the better side in the first half but we conceded a goal straight off,” Galway manager Shane O’Neill reflected.

“And then we conceded 1-1 towards the end (of the first half), we probably didn’t deal with when they brought a man out to float and created a one on one inside and they got 1-1 or 1-2 at the end of the half but our goals were taken brilliantly in the second half.

Jason Forde shoots to score Tipperary's third goal. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

“It goes back to what we have been looking for the last couple of weeks, just to have an unreal work rate and I think the work rate was there again.

“I thought we were beginning to lose a little bit of discipline towards the end, but in fairness they kept their discipline and work rate and I thought they were superb throughout but particularly in the second half.”

So Galway earn themselves another game which will be their fourth in as many weekends. O’Neill reported that Joe Canning remains a doubt for that game with a troublesome calf injury.

“We are looking forward to it now and obviously we have been taking every game as it comes and have been trying to create that competitive squad. I think we used five subs today and we used five subs last week and possibly every week we have played so far so it has been great. It means guys are getting serious game time.”

Tipp’s thoughts turn to Waterford on May 10 and the work that lies in front of them. “Ultimately it’s about how the panel attack this from here on and we’re well used to and we know what the build-up to Championship looks like,” Sheedy said. “Certainly we have a hill to climb.”

Scorers – Galway: E Niland 0-14 (13f); C Whelan 2-0; B Concannon 0-4; C Mannion 1-0; C Cooney, J Coen, J Flynn (1 sl) 0-1 each. Tipperary: J Forde 1-5 (2 ’65, 2f); J McGrath 2-1; C Darcy 0-2; P Maher, R Maher, D Quirke, M Breen, S Callanan 0-1 each.

Galway – J Skehill 6; D Morrissey 7, G McInerney 7, P Killeen 5; P Mannion 6, S Cooney 6, F Burke 7; J Coen 8, A Harte 7; C Mannion 7, E Niland 8, J Flynn 7; C Cooney 7, C Whelan 8, B Concannon 8. Subs: S Loftus 7 for Killeen (26), A Tuohey 6 for S Cooney (45), David Burke 6 for P Mannion, N Burke 6 for Flynn (both 55), K Cooney for B Concannon (66).

Tipperary – B Hogan 6; Paul Maher 6, B Heffernan 6, A Flynn 6; S Kennedy 6, Pádraic Maher 7, R Maher 7; N McGrath 6, G Browne 6; J Forde 7, J McGrath 7, D Quirke 6; J O’Dwyer 6, S Callanan 6, C Darcy 7. Subs: S O’Brien 6 for Paul Maher, M Breen 6 for Browne (48), P Flynn 6 for O’Dwyer (56), D McCormack 6 for Quirke (58), J Cahill for Darcy (68).

Ref – J Murphy (Limerick).

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