Willie Connors, Tipperary, and Peadar Scally, Westmeath, in Allianz Hurling League action at TEG Cusack Park.
Willie Connors, Tipperary, and Peadar Scally, Westmeath, in Allianz Hurling League action at TEG Cusack Park.

Allianz HL D1: Tipperary cruise to victory

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A


By Shane Brophy at TEG Cusack Park

Tipperary cruised to a comfortable victory over Westmeath at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar.

It was a thoroughly impressive performance by Liam Sheedy’s charges, who led 1-15 to 0-7 at half time, despite shooting 11 wides. A red card for Robert Byrne midway through the second half was the only set-back for Tipp on the day as they eased to a 23 point win with 1-8 coming from the subs bench.

The Premier County were playing in the Lake County for the first time in 36 years and selected a strong line-up with All-Stars Brian Hogan, Brendan Maher and skipper Seamus Callanan all making their first starts of the campaign. And it took Callanan just sixty seconds to get on the scoresheet, adding to a Michael Breen point as Tipp started well.

However, the radar was off in the first half as the squandered some good chances as Westmeath stuck with the visitors until the water-break as Tipp led 0-7 to 0-4, but after that Tipp upped another gear with Noel McGrath pulling the strings at centre forward as Brendan Maher, Barry Heffernan and Paddy Cadell on score from play before John McGrath goaled in the 32nd minute after a Willie Connors centre.

Tipp’s second goal came six minutes into the second half when Jason Forde was fouled inside the 21-yard line but referee Liam Gordan deemed it a cynical foul by Darragh Egerton who was sinbinned and Forde converted the penalty.

Forde added his second goal six minutes later, moments before he was subbed off after a 2-6 haul, and shortly before Tipp wing back Robert Byrne was sent off for an off the ball strike on Joey Boyle.

However, Tipp were 3-19 to 0-10 to the good at that stage and despite sub Darragh Clinton impressing with three points from play, the visitors subs bench made an impact with Jake Morris, Alan & Paul Flynn and Mark Kehoe all scoring with Kehoe scoring the fourth and final goal in injury time.

Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 2-6 (1-0 pen, 0-4 frees, 0-1 65); John McGrath, Mark Kehoe 1-2 each; Jake Morris 0-3 (1 free); Barry Heffernan, Michael Breen, Paddy Cadell, Alan Flynn 0-2 each; Brendan Maher, Dan McCormack, Noel McGrath, Willie Connors, Seamus Callanan, Paul Flynn 0-1.

*Scorers for Westmeath: *Ciaran Doyle 0-5 (4 frees); Killian Doyle (3 frees), Darragh Clinton 0-3 each; Robbie Greville, Derek McNicholas (1 free) 0-2 each; Cormac Boyle 0-1.

Tipperary: Brian Hogan; Cathal Barrett, Padraic Maher, Brian McGrath; Robert Byrne, Brendan Maher, Barry Heffernan; Dan McCormack, Paddy Cadell; Michael Breen, Noel McGrath, Seamus Callanan; Willie Connors, John McGrath, Jason Forde.

Subs: Jake Morris for Forde (47); Alan Flynn for McCormack (47); Craig Morgan for Heffernan (53); Paul Flynn for N McGrath (53); James Quigley for Barrett (59); Mark Kehoe for J McGrath (59); John Meagher for B McGrath (60).

*Westmeath: *Noel Conaty; Darragh Egerton, Tommy Gallagher, Conor Shaw; Aaron Craig, Tommy Doyle, Peadar Scally; Cormac Boyle, Robbie Greville; Aonghus Clarke, Killian Doyle, Joey Boyle; Josh Coll, Niall Mitchell, Ciaran Doyle.

Subs: Derek McNicholas for K Doyle (27 inj); Darragh Clinton for Coll (30); Kevin Regan for Scally (55); Alan Cox for Clarke (58); Shane Gavin for Boyle (69); Eoghan Ahearne for C Doyle (69).

*Referee: *Liam Gordon (Galway).