Promotion is still not out of the question but games are quickly running out for Peter Creedon’s men, as they pray for an unlikely slip-up by pacesetters Fermanagh or Armagh.
Both Ulster sides kept their unbeaten records intact elsewhere, but Tipp were full value for maximum points too, albeit with a few ‘Wee’ scares along the way.
They made a blistering start. Goals from George Hannigan — after 30 seconds — and Conor Sweeney, opened a 2-3 to 0-2 lead after 17 minutes. Louth closed the gap to the minimum, but Tipp finished the half strongly to lead 2-6 to 0-8 at the break.
The hosts rattled 1-2 without reply in the first four minutes of the second period to lead for the first time, half-time sub Derek Crilly with the goal.
But again Tipp’s response was emphatic, 1-5 without reply, Larry Casey slotting home goal number three.
Louth lost midfielder Eoin O’Connor to a second yellow card, but they dug in with Crilly completing his hat-trick to keep things interesting.
But man-of-the-match Philip Austin fired home Tipp’s fourth goal, rubber-stamping a deserved victory.
Scorers for Tipperary: C Sweeney 1-5 (0-5f), P Austin, L Casey 1-1 each, G Hannigan 1-0, B Grogan 0-3 (0-1f, 0-1 ‘45’), C O’Riordan, S O’Brien 0-2 each, B Mulvihill, R Kiely 0-1 each.
Scorers for Louth: D Crilly 3-1, D Byrne 0-3, R Burns 0-2f, A Reid 0-2, E O’Connor, B Duffy, C Judge 0-1 each.
Subs for Tipperary: G Mulhaire for Kiely (HT), B Mulvihill for Fahey (64), A Morrissey for Kennedy (66), D Lonergan for Grogan (66), D Dwyer for Austin (69), S Flynn for Fox (70).
Subs for Louth: S O’Hanlon for P Kirwan (29), C Grimes for D O’Connor (31), D Crilly for Judge (h-t), D Maguire for Burns (64), T Durnin for Duffy (67).
TIPPERARY: C Nugent; A Campbell, P Codd, R Kiely; S Kennedy, P Acheson, P O’Riordan; G Hannigan, S O’Brien; L Casey, P Austin, I Fahey; C Sweeney, B Grogan, B Fox.
LOUTH: N Gallagher; K Toner, P Reilly, P Rath; J Stewart, D Finnegan, A Williams; B Duffy, E O’Connor; A Reid, C Judge, D Byrne; P Kirwan, D O’Connor, R Burns.
REF: B Rice (Down).