By Brendan O’Brien, Parnell Park
Dublin 2-20 Tipperary 0-14
Dublin have managed a measure of revenge for their All-Ireland elimination at Tipperary’s hands last summer with a comprehensive and impressive 12-point win in their opening Allianz Hurling League Division 1A game in Donnycarney.
Tipp led briefly in the opening exchanges but trailed from the 15th minute to the last dregs of stoppage time when Liam Rushe ended the day’s scoring with a superb finish to the top corner of Darren Gleeson’s goal.
The win follows on from their encouraging Walsh Cup campaign which only ended in defeat to Galway in the final and reaffirms Tipp’s opening day blues: this was their fourth round one league defeat in five years.
John O’Dwyer hit six points for the visitors, five of them from play, but there were few other bright spots for manager Eamon O’Shea though this was a strong side he brought with him to the capital.
Cunningham will be delighted with the result, the scoreline and the performances of men such as Conal Keaney, Michael Carton and Liam Rushe who were selected in the unfamiliar surrounds of wing-back, full-back and full-forward respectively.
Paul Ryan top-scored with eight points, five of them from frees, while Rushe and Eamon Dillon each chipped in with 1-1 against a Tipp team that took 19 minutes to score from play and looked listless and off the pace all afternoon.
Dillon’s goal 19 minutes in left Dublin 1-5 to 0-2 to the good and the lead stretched to eight points by the interval. Tipperary improved after the change of ends but never threatened to reel in the Leinster side’s advantage.
A bad day was made worse for O’Shea who lost midfielder Shane McGrath to concussion on half-time and defender Joe O’Dwyer with what looked like a shoulder injury shortly before Rushe claimed the second Dublin goal.
P Ryan (0-8, 5 frees); E Dillon (1-2); L Rushe (1-1); M Schutte and D Sutcliffe (both 0-2); S Durkin, C Crummey, C Cronin, C Boland and R O’Dwyer (all 0-1).
J O’Dwyer (0-6, 1 free); S Callanan (0-4, 3 frees); S McGrath, J Woodlock, C O’Brien (all 0-1); J Forde (0-1 free).
A Nolan; C O’Callaghan, M Carton, P Schutte; C Crummey, P Kelly, C Keaney; C Cronin, S Durkin; R O’Carroll, E Dillon, D Sutcliffe; P Ryan, L Rushe, M Schutte. Subs: R O’Dwyer for O’Carroll (15); C Boland for O’Dwyer (60); B Quinn for Cronin (61); J McCaffrey for Durkin (69).
D Gleeson; Joe O’Dwyer, P Curran, C Barrett; K Bergin, C O’Mahony, Padraic Maher; S McGrath, J Woodlock; B Maher, J Forde, D Maher; G Ryan, S Callanan, John O’Dwyer. Subs: R Maher for D Maher and T Stapleton for McGrath (both HT); C Kenny for Ryan (46); C O’Brien for O’Mahony (53); M Breen for Joe O’Dwyer (67).
B Kelly (Westmeath).