By Jackie Cahill at Semple Stadium, Thurles
Tipperary 1-23 Dublin 0-12
Jason Forde hit 1-5 as Tipperary manager Michael Ryan celebrated his first competitive game in charge with a big Allianz Hurling League Division 1A victory over Dublin this evening.
Tipp spanked the visiting Sky Blues by 14 points to warm up nicely for next Sunday’s visit to Kilkenny.
The hosts may have opted out of the pre-season Munster Senior League but they were still far too good for a Dublin side that claimed Walsh Cup glory recently.
Forde hummed with intent throughout and it was also a good night for the McGrath brothers Noel and John.
Noel was playing his first full game back since beating testicular cancer tonight while younger brother John impressed from placed balls and in general play.
Tipperary are notoriously slow League starters but signalled some early season intent ahead to score a first opening round victory since beating Waterford in Thurles two years ago.
For Dublin and their manager Ger Cunningham, this was a setback as Tipp dictated the terms of engagement in front of 5,105 spectators.
Tipp had the breeze at their backs at a freezing Semple Stadium in the opening half and wasted no time getting down to business.
By half-time, the hosts were 1-9 to 0-3 clear and Forde hit the 13th minute goal, breaking onto loose ball before firing a low strike past Conor Dooley, who had done brilliantly within the first 25 seconds to keep out John McGrath.
A new, direct approach from Tipp was evident but they spoiled much of their good work by registering 10 first half wides.
Still, Tipp had the scoreboard ticking over with regularity as Dublin struggled to create much.
Paul Ryan, whipped off at half-time, sent a couple of scoreable frees wide while other efforts from teammates dropped short.
Tipp boss Ryan took the chance to run his bench in the second half and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer picked off three points after coming on, while fellow sub Dylan Fitzelle also put over an eye-catching score.
Ryan declared himself pleased with Tipp’s efforts at full-time but he realises that the stakes will get even higher next Sunday when his charges enter the Nowlan Park cauldron.
Scorers for Tipperary: J Forde 1-5, J McGrath 0-7 (5f), C Kenny & J O’Dwyer 0-3 each, Pádraic Maher & N McGrath 0-2 each, D Fitzelle 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: D Treacy 0-3f, N McMorrow 0-2, D Plunkett, E Dillon, D O’Callaghan, P Ryan (f), M Schutte, D O’Connell & C Cronin 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY: D Gleeson; C Barrett, T Hamill, M Cahill; B Maher, J Barry, Pádraic Maher; M Breen, D Quinn; D McCormack, Patrick Maher, J Forde; N McGrath, C Kenny, J McGrath.
Subs: D Fitzelle for Patrick Maher (47), J Gallagher for Breen (58), J O’Dwyer for McCormack (58), J Meagher for B Maher (66), L Ryan for Quinn (67).
DUBLIN: C Dooley; J Boland, E O’Donnell, O Gough; C O’Callaghan, C Crummy, S Barrett; N McMorrow, J McCaffrey; D Plunkett, E Dillon, D Treacy; D O’Callaghan, P Ryan, M Schutte.
Subs: C Cronin for Ryan (h.t.), D O’Connell for Plunkett (48), O O’Rorke for O’Callaghan (59), F McGibb for McCaffrey (63)
Referee: C Lyons (Cork).