McGrath saves Tipp in game of missed chances

Liam McGrath pointed a 40-metre free five minutes into additional-time to gain Tipperary their first point after a hectic finish to an otherwise rather poor tie at Semple Stadium yesterday.

McGrath saves Tipp in game of missed chances

[team1]Tipperary[/team1][score1]2-5[/score1][team2]Fermanagh[/team2][#embed1]22-5[/score2][/score]

Liam McGrath pointed a 40-metre free five minutes into additional-time to gain Tipperary their first point after a hectic finish to an otherwise rather poor tie at Semple Stadium yesterday.

In a dramatic climax, the best of the action came in the closing minutes with each side looking to have secured a first victory only to be caught and both managers left feeling disappointed at not having taken the spoils.

Tipperary led 1-1 to 0-2 at the end of a dismal first-half, characterised by both sides getting all their players behind the ball when the opposition had possession.

Tipp’s goal after six minutes was freakish, Fermanagh goalie Thomas Treacy spilling a simple shot from Brian Fox over the line to put the home side ahead.

However, Tipperary spurned two other gilt-edged goal chances when Jimmy Feehan’s effort after 25 minutes was turned out for a 45, while three minutes later, Liam Boland, with the goal at his mercy, failed to raise a green flag.

Tipp continued to have the better of things early in the second half but had Steven O’Brien sin-binned after 50 minutes.

Kevin Fahey then missed a glorious goal chance for the Premier lads after being set up by Philip Austin and Conal Kennedy.

They paid the penalty eight minutes later as Conal Jones netted for Fermanagh off an Ultan Kelm pass to level, 1-4 each.

Ciaran Corrigan nudged Fermanagh ahead with two minutes to play but Tipperary looked to have sealed a win when Conor Sweeney’s delivery was finished to the net by Brian Fox after 70 minutes.

There was more drama to come, however. Two minutes into stoppage-time, Fermanagh’s Aidan Breen was hauled down in the Tipp goal area and from the resulting penalty Sean Quigley beat Tipperary sub goalie Michael Reilly who had just come on for the injured Evan Comerford.

And the drama did not finish there. After 74 minutes, Brian Fox was fouled and Liam McGrath showed great composure to point the free to give Tipperary their first point in the competition with Fermanagh securing a second draw.

Neither manager was happy. Fermanagh’s Rory Gallagher rued profligacy in front of goal.

We should be sitting here with four points and have only two, and that is very disappointing. We gave away two goals and missed some shocking chances.

Tipp manager Liam Kearns also had regrets. “We got gilt-edged goal chances and did not put them away so we have no one to blame but ourselves.

I did not see the late penalty incident so I cannot comment on it and while Liam McGrath did very well to point the last-minute free, we should never have found ourselves in that position.”

It was a first point for Tipperary after an initial loss to Meath but with Donegal due to visit next weekend, and nine players listed as injured, securing enough points to avoid a relegation scrap is not going to be easy.

Brian Fox was a two-goal hero for the home county with Kevin Fahey, Steven O Brien, Liam McGrath and John Meagher also to the fore.

Sean Quigley was Fermanagh’s main marksman with Ryan Jones, Lee Cullen, Aidan Breen and Conal Jones also prominent.

Scorers for Tipperary scorers:

B Fox (2-0); C Sweeney, L McGrath (free), P Austin, L Casey, K Fahey (0-1 each).

Scorers for Fermanagh:

S Quigley (1-2, pen, 2 frees); C Jones (1-0); C Corrigan, G Jones, R Jones (0-1 each).

TIPPERARY:

E Comerford; A Campbell, J Meagher, E Moloney; K Fahey, D Brennan, J Feehan; S O Brien, L Casey; L Boland, L McGrath, B Fox; P Austin, C Sweeney, J Kennedy.

Subs:

C Kennedy for Moloney (h/t); K O Halloran for Boland (51); D O Meara for Austin (56), M O Reiily for Comerford (69), P Codd for Feehan (71).

FERMANAGH:

T Treacy; J Cassidy, T Daly, M McMahon; S McGullion, L Cullen, K O Connor; E Donnelly, R Jones; C Corrigan, D McCusker, A Breen; D Teague, C Jones, S Quigley.

Subs:

P McCusker for McGullion (30), R Lyons for Daly (h-t), G Jones for Teague (40), U Kelm for McCusker (53), D McGurn for McMahon (56).

Referee:

R Hickey (Clare).

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