Tipperary back on track

A CAUTIOUS Liam Sheedy was reluctant to declare his team “back on track” following Saturday’s comprehensive 14-point victory over Wexford at Semple Stadium.

Last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists were rarely troubled by Colm Bonnar’s visitors as a devastating scoring blitz immediately after half-time killed this one-sided tie stone dead. Tipp led by 0-15 to 0-7 at the break and Wexford’s only consolation was that they would face the Town End in the second half with the breeze at their backs.

But after Eoin Kelly landed a quickfire brace of points within two minutes of the restart, Lar Corbett bagged two goals in a minute and the 11th senior championship meeting between the counties was history. Sheedy insisted the focus was all about getting to the next round of qualifiers, where Tipp’s most likely opponents on July 17 will be Offaly.

It was about steadying the ship too following the humiliating ten-point reverse against Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on May 30.

Sheedy remodelled his team and the new faces did well as wing back David Young finished with the man of the match crystal following his championship debut at right half back, a display decorated by three points from play.

Patrick Maher, the other debutant, bagged two points while Gearóid Ryan managed four on his first full championship start.

Young said: “For the week after the Cork match, everybody’s head was down. It was demoralising to lose by that much but we got the heads down and drove on. It’s every step as it comes now – we have another match in two weeks time and that’s what we’re looking at next.”

For Wexford, it’s back to the drawing board with doubts hanging over the future of boss Colm Bonnar.

The former Tipperary star has completed his official two-year term and said that talk about his position is “a decision for another day.”

Bonnar added “I have enjoyed my two years with them – other than that, I’ll just have to sit down with the county board and see what their plans are.”

Bonnar’s situation will become clearer in the coming weeks while other talking points from last Saturday were of a disciplinary nature. Based on the TV evidence available, the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) will be anxious to take a look at a number of incidents from this tie. Tipperary full-back Declan Fanning needed 25 stitches after suffering an horrific ear injury during an altercation with Stephen Banville, which saw both players booked with less than two minutes played. The flash point was captured by RTÉ cameras while Wexford centre forward Tomás Waters was lucky he wasn’t sent off in the second half for standing on Conor O’Mahony’s hand.

Waters had been booked just minutes earlier for a challenge on Young but referee James McGrath missed the tangle with O’Mahony, who was booked for retaliation.

Tipp were aggrieved that full-forward Brian O’Meara’s yellow card during the Cork defeat was upgraded to red on the basis of video evidence and will hope that head high tackles on their own players will be treated similarly.

Fanning, Young, Shane McGrath and Brendan Maher were all treated for head injuries and it has emerged that medic Peter Murchin worked furiously to keep the blood flowing to Fanning’s lacerated ear as it was stitched.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Tipperary broke no rule by using six substitutes, as Paul Curran played virtually the entire game after coming on as a blood sub for Fanning.

At half-time, Tipp county board secretary Tim Floyd received assurances from match referee James McGrath and the fourth official on duty that Curran was a temporary sub, and not one of the five permitted full substitutions.

Tipp boss Sheedy then emptied his bench during the second half, bringing on five subs as the Premier County cruised to victory, and at any point during the game, Fanning could have come back on for Curran.

The only real worry for Tipp on the field of play was the concession of 0-19 but eight points were conceded in the last 12 minutes when the game was at challenge match pace.

Tipperary: B Cummins; M Cahill, D Fanning, C O'Brien; D Young (0-3), C O'Mahony, Padraic Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan (0-4), S Callanan (0-1), Patrick Maher (0-2); N McGrath (0-3, 1f), L Corbett (2-3), E Kelly (0-8, 3f, 2 65s).

Subs: P Curran for Fanning (inj, 2 - blood sub), J O'Brien for Callanan (50), S Hennessy for Kelly (58), D Egan (1-0) for S McGrath (64), S Maher for B Maher (68), M Heffernan for Ryan (70).

Wexford: N Carton; P Roche, K Rossiter, C Kenny; R Kehoe, D Stamp (0-1), D Redmond; C Farrell (0-3, 1f), H Kehoe (0-3); P Atkinson (0-2, 1f, 1 65), T Waters, E Quigley; R Jacob (0-3), S Banville (0-2), T Mahon (0-2).

Subs: L Prendergast for Quigley (h/t), J Berry (0-3, 1f) for Atkinson (42), M Jacob for Banville (50), T Dwyer for Redmond (50), B Kenny for Roche (inj, 69).

Ref: J McGrath (Westmeath).

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