Tipperary crowned Allianz FL D3 Champions
Allianz Football League Division 3 Final
TIPPERARY 3-19 LOUTH 0-19
By William Dunne at Croke Park
Vital goals helped Tipperary see off Louth in some style as they were crowned Allianz Football League Division 3 champions at Croke Park this evening.
Already promoted to Division 2, the victory and the silverware that came with it franks the Premier County's status as one of the most upwardly mobile teams in the country.
Last year's All-Ireland Semi-Final appearance was clearly no fluke, Tipperary are very much a footballing force now.
They came into the game as favourites however it was the Wee County that started the brighter in the sloppy opening minutes that saw Louth go three points up after five minutes with help of a beautiful score from Declan Byrne.
Louth then went 11 minutes without a score but despite Tipperary’s superior possession in that period they didn’t take much advantage and by the 16th minute they had registered six wides.
Frees from Michael Quinlivan and Conor Sweeney kept Tipperary in touch as Andy McDonnell extended Louth’s lead to three points once more.
It took till the 26th minute for Tipperary to secure just their second point from play through Sweeney that began a purple patch for the premier county in which they scored 1-05 without reply.
The crucial first half goal came from Cahir midfielder Liam Casey after a fisted ball by Sweeney found him behind Louth’s full-back line and he rifled his shot into the roof of the net to make it 1-08 to 0-07.
Corner-back Alan Campbell soared up the field and added to Tipperary’s lead with a neat execution from the right before Derek Maguire finished the first half scoring from a tricky angle to make it 1-11 to 0-09 at half-time.
Louth got off to the better start in the second half and with the help of scores from Declan Byrne and Tommy Durnin brought the deficit back to just two points.
With the experienced Paddy Codd and Robbie Kiely dominating in Tipperary’s defence, Louth struggled to present any clear goal chances. They did threaten on 45 minutes however, midfielder Tommy Durnin kicking a point after some tough battling on the 21 metre line.
There were four points between the sides when the game’s telling moment arrived after 47 minutes when O’Halloran found himself bearing down on goal only for his shot to be blocked by Louth's Bevan Duffy.
But as Duffy tried to carry the ball to safety he was dispossessed by O'Halloran who moved the ball to Connor Sweeney who banged it to the back of the net to make it 2-15 to 0-14.
Both sides emptied the bench as the game died down with substitute Jim McEneaney successfully taking over free taking duties for Louth.
Tipperary’s resilient defence again preventing any goal chances materialising for their opponents as substitutes Liam Boland and Liam McGrath kept the scoreboard ticking.
Louth's pushed forward in numbers for one last attack but Tipperary turned the ball over and when McGrath fed Sweeney he rounded Louth goalkeeper Lynch to score his second goal and finish the match with a flourish for Tipperary.
Scorers for Tipperary: Conor Sweeney 2-05 (3f), Liam Casey 1-01, Michael Quinlivan 0-03 (2f), Kevin O’Halloran 0-03 (2f), Jack Kennedy 0-02, Alan Campbell, Robbie Kiely, Liam Boland, Liam McGrath, Josh Keane 0-01 each
Scorers for Louth: Ryan Burns 0-05 (4f), Declan Byrne (1f), Tommy Durnin, Jim McEneaney (2f) 0-03 each, Pauric Smith 0-02, Derek Maguire, Andy McDonnell, Eoin O’Connor 0-01 each.
TIPPERARY: Evan Comerford; Alan Campbell, Paddy Codd, Willie Connors; Bill Maher, Robbie Kiely, Shane O’Connell; Liam Casey, Jack Kennedy; Josh Keane, Kevin O’Halloran, Brian Fox; Conor Sweeney, Michael Quinlivan, Emmet Moloney. Subs: George Hannigan for Moloney 52, Liam Boland for O’Halloran 61, Colm O’Shaugnessy for Connors 64, Alan Moloney for Kennedy 67, Liam McGrath for Keane 71, Joseph Hennessy for Quinlivan, 76.
LOUTH: Craig Lynch; Padraigh McGarth, Patrick Kelly, Anthony Williams; Derek Maguire, John Bingham, James Stewart; Tommy Durnin, Andy McDonnell; Declan Byrne, Pauric Smith, Bevan Duffy; Adrian Reid, Eoin O’Connor, Ryan Burns. Subs: Kurt Murphy for Reid HT, Ruairi Moore for Reid 45, Jim McEneaney for O’Connor 48, Gerard McSorley for Burns 57, Conall McKeever for Durnin 64, James Califf for Byrne 70.
REFEREE: Anthony Nolan