Kearns steps down as Tipp suffer defeat in Newry

Liam Kearns waytches on as Tipp were beaten by a late Down rally. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Down 1-13 - 1-10 Tipperary

Liam Kearns has stepped down as Tipperary football manager after today's qualifier defeat by Down.

"A new approach and a new challenge is needed," Kearns told Tipp FM after the 1-13 to 1-10 defeat.

Following the announcement, Tipperary Co. Board expressed their gratitude to the Kerry native and his management personnel for the wonderful contribution given to football in Tipperary ove the last three seasons.

"Liam brought the Tipperary team and their loyal band of supporters on an incredible journey, the highlight of which was an All-Ireland semi-final appearance in 2016. This was followed up with Division 3 success in 2017 and a determined push to achieve promotion to Division 1 in 2018. Unfortunately, beset by injury the panel and management were hindered in their quest to push on in 2019."

On the field, it was Down’s subs bench that proved to be the difference as the Mourne men came from behind to defeat Tipperary in the first round of the All Ireland Football qualifiers at Páirc Esler in Newry today.

Cory Quinn (3), Paul Devlin and Barry O’Hagan all landed points late in the half to send Down into round 2 and leave the home support relieved at the final whistle.

The home side began the livelier into a stiff breeze with Pat Havern opening the scoring inside a minute with Jerome Johnston doubling the lead five minutes later.

With the elements, Tipp were looking to go direct early but had little joy until Conor Sweeney opened their account on nine minutes with a free.

The visitors struck for goal five minutes later as Liam McGrath played in Philip Austin whose pace unlocked the Down defence and he fired to the net.

However, Down responded well and dominated possession with a Rory Burns 45 and a Darren O’Hagan point bringing them level. A Jack Kennedy 45 for Tipp was cancelled out by Down’s Pat Havern but it was the visitors who finished the half well with Austin, and frees from Liam McGrath and Conor Sweeney helping them to a 1-5 to 0-5 advantage at the break.

INPHO/Philip Magowan
INPHO/Philip Magowan

Connaire Harrison and the excellent Pat Havern pointed for Down before the crucial moment came in the 48th minute when Tipp spurned a goal chance with Brian Fox unable to finish off a flowing move.

Conor Sweeney did extended the lead with a free but Down were dominating the ball in the second half and made it count with Corey Quinn pointing before the key score came on 60 minutes when Donal O’Hare first timed a shot to the net after Conor Francis shot came back off the post.

Tipp responded through a Liam Casey point but Down had their tails up and pushed on kicking some excellent scores from Quinn (2), Devlin and O’Hagan with Michael Quinlivan and Conor Sweeney (free) managing late reposts for Tipp whose disappointing year has come to an end.

Scorers for Down: P Havern 0-4; C Quinn 0-3; D O’Hare 1-0; C Harrison 0-2; R Burns (45), D O’Hagan, J Johnston, P Devlin, B O’Hagan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: C Sweeney 0-4f, P Austin 1-1; L McGrath 0-2f; J Kennedy (45), M Quinlivan, L Casey 0-1 each.

Down: R Burns; D O’Hagan, B McArdcle, G Collins; R McAleenan, K McKernan, D Guinness; J Flynn, C Poland; C Francis, J Johnston, J Guiness; P Havern, D O’Hare, C Harrison

Subs: P Devlin for Poland (25); O McCabe for D Guinness (HT); P Laverty for J Guinness (47); C Quinn for Johnston (57); B O’Hagan for Havern (57 inj); C Maginn for O’Hare (70).

Tipperary: E Comerford; A Campbell, J Meagher, S O’Connell; B Fox; E Moloney, R Kiely, D Brennan; S O’Brien, J Kennedy; J Keane, P Austin, L McGrath; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan.

Subs: B Maher for McGrath (56); L Casey for Kennedy (57); K Fahey for Moloney (62); L Boland for Austin (65); Paul Maher for Keane (70).

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)

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