Allianz HL QF: Callanan stars for Tipperary
Allianz Hurling League Quarter-Final
*TIPPERARY 4-28 OFFALY 3-13 *
By Kevin Egan at O’Connor Park
Tipperary barely had to raise a sweat in O’Connor Park this afternoon as they easily defeated Offaly in a hugely one sided encounter at the Tullamore venue, setting up what’s likely to be a far more competitive semi-final clash with a resurgent Wexford.
The Faithful County held their own in the opening minutes of the tie as the first eight points of the contest were shared, with Paddy Murphy and Aidan Treacy among their scorers.
Tipperary soon found their rhythm, however and the scores started to flow freely, led by strong performances in their half forward line. Dan McCormack, Noel McGrath and, in particular, Niall O’Meara were very prominent in those early stages, causing confusion in the Offaly back line with good angled lines of running and firing over points from wide positions.
Offaly operated with an extra man in their own back line but they struggled to make that count in their bid to contain the free flowing Tipperary forwards, and this was particularly apparent when Seamus Callanan ghosted into acres of space to fire home Tipperary’s opening goal midway through the period.
A 1-14 to 0-7 lead at the break was a reasonable reflection of the control that Tipperary exerted in the opening half while the All Ireland champions completely strangled the life out of the Faithful County in the third quarter, tacking on 1-9 without reply after the opening two points of the half were shared.
Michael Ryan showed the strength of his panel by springing Paul Flynn and Stephen O’Brien from the bench, both of whom rattled the back of the Offaly net, with O’Brien demonstrating his footballing skill with a low finish off his right boot for his major, augmenting a stunning strike from under the stand mere minutes after his introduction.
Any lingering traces of intensity were nowhere to be seen in the latter stages as the Faithful County took advantage of hesitation in the Tipperary goalmouth to pick off a couple of late goals, both from Shane Dooley, while teenager Oisín Kelly continued his fine goal scoring streak when he showed great composure to bat home his third major of the competition.
*Scorers for Tipperary: *S Callanan 2-11 (7fs, 165), N O’Meara 0-5, P Flynn and S O’Brien 1-1 each, D McCormack 0-4, M Breen 0-3, N McGrath, J O’Dwyer and S Cahill 0-1 each.
*Scorers for Offaly: *S Dooley 2-8 (6fs), O Kelly 1-0, P Murphy 0-2, A Treacy, S Ryan and C Kiely 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY: D Gleeson; T Hamill, J Barry, A Flynn; S Kennedy, R Maher, P Maher; J Forde, M Breen; D McCormack, N O’Meara, N McGrath; J O’Dwyer, S Callanan, J McGrath. Subs: S O’Brien for N McGrath (HT), P Flynn for J McGrath (43), C Barrett for Hamill (46), D Quinn for P Maher (52), S Cahill for O’Meara (63).
OFFALY: J Dempsey; P Rigney, M Cleary, E Grogan; D King, A Treacy, S Gardiner; D Shortt, S Ryan; P Murphy, S Dooley, C Kiely; S Cleary, E Nolan, O Kelly. Subs: P Camon for Kiely (29), T Carroll for Murphy (51), P Guinan for M Cleary (52), L Langton for Gardiner (61).
REFEREE: Conor Lyons (Cork).