Offaly 3-13 Tipperary 4-28
Michael Ryan’s Tipperary romped into the semi-finals of the Allianz Hurling League, scoring a comprehensive victory over Offaly at O’Connor Park, Tullamore, this afternoon, writes Jackie Cahill at O’Connor Park, Tullamore.
The Premier County registered 13 wides but still ran out 18–point winners against the hosts, Seamus Callanan with 2-11, in front of 8,032 spectators.
Tipp, playing against the breeze in the opening half, had much of the spadework done by half-time, having established a ten-point advantage.
Callanan helped himself to 1-6 in that opening half, a haul that included five points from placed balls.
It was also impressive first half from Niall O’Meara, who picked off three points from play while also providing the assist for Callanan’s 17th-minute goal.
Offaly had been competitive in the early stages and were level at 0-4 each before Tipp began to pull away.
Four points had the Premier County 0-8 to 0-4 in front before Callanan took a pass from O’Meara and drilled a low shot that reared up off the turf past James Dempsey.
When Noel McGrath added a point, Tipp had collected 1-5 without reply and they would not be caught, setting up a semi-final clash with Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford.
The interval lead, 1-14 to 0-7, was their biggest of the game to date and Tipp, with Dan McCormack producing another steady display, wouldn’t let up in the second half.
Completely dominant in the puck-out stakes, Tipp had all of the primary possession and space that they needed to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
And there was an added bonus when All-Star corner back Cathal Barrett returned from injury for his seasonal bow, while Alan Flynn was also handed a full League debut from the start at corner back.
Only a couple of brilliant second half saves from Dempsey – denying sub Steven O’Brien and Callanan – kept the score down, before the floodgates opened.
More goals did come from Tipperary, who led by 25 points at one stage in the second half.
Sub Paul Flynn, brother of Alan, netted in the 53rd minute before Oisín Kelly replied in kind for Offaly two minutes later.
Callanan placed for O’Brien ten minutes from time and the former dual minor showed that he’s lost none of his football skills by kicking to the net.
Callanan bagged his second goal with seven minutes left, O’Brien returning the favour, before Offaly’s leading scorer Shane Dooley netted twice in the closing minutes, taking advantage of some sloppy Tipperary defending on both occasions.
Scorers for Tipperary: S Callanan 2-11 (0-7f, 0-1 65), N O’Meara 0-5, P Flynn & S O’Brien 1-1 each, D McCormack 0-4, M Breen 0-3, N McGrath, J O’Dwyer & S Cahill 0-1 each.
Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley 2-8 (0-6f), O Kelly 1-0, P Murphy 0-2, A Treacy, S Ryan & C Kiely 0-1 each.
Tipperary: D Gleeson; T Hamill, J Barry, A Flynn; S Kennedy, R Maher, P Maher; M Breen, J Forde; D McCormack, N O’Meara, N McGrath; J McGrath, S Callanan, J O’Dwyer.
Subs: S O’Brien for N McGrath (h.t.), P Flynn for J McGrath (43), C Barrett for Hamill (46), D Quinn for P Maher (52), S Cahill for O’Meara (64).
Offaly: J Dempsey; P Rigney, M Cleary, E Grogan; D King, D Shortt, S Gardner; A Treacy, S Ryan; P Murphy, S Dooley, C Kiely; E Nolan, S Cleary, O Kelly.
Subs: P Camon for Kiely (29), T Carroll for Murphy (51), P Guinan for M Cleary (52), L Langton for Gardner (60).
Referee – C Lyons (Cork)