Aidan Mellett, Dublin, and Brian McGrath, Tipperary, in Allianz Hurling League action.
Aidan Mellett, Dublin, and Brian McGrath, Tipperary, in Allianz Hurling League action.

Allianz HL D1B: Dublin claim battling win

Allianz National Hurling League Division 1B


By Paul Keane at FBD Semple Stadium, Thurles

Dublin's unbeaten start to 2022 remains intact but just about after holding off a thrilling Tipperary revival in Thurles to claim a battling Allianz National Hurling League win.

Goals from Rian McBride and Ronan Hayes helped Dublin to open up a five-point lead with 20 minutes to go and they needed that cushion as Tipp reeled off the last four points of the game to draw within one.

The hosts had late opportunities to level it through Ronan Maher and top scorer Jason Forde but neither could secure the score that maintained their own unbeaten run in the league.

Dublin's win, just their fourth from 11 league and championship outings in Thurles over the last decade, leapfrogs them above Tipp into top spot in Division 1B.

Donal Burke weighed in with 0-9 for Dublin at FBD Semple Stadium, bringing his league tally so far to 1-30 while Aidan Mellett, McBride and captain Eoghan O'Donnell all turned in big displays for the Walsh Cup champions.

Dublin will return to action at Parnell Park next Saturday when they will play Kilkenny while Tipperary will travel to Waterford and Walsh Park a day later.

This was a much changed Tipp team from the side that previously beat Kilkenny by a point, boss Bonnar retaining just seven of his starting team.

Back into the team came three-time All-Ireland winner Seamus Callanan, the only player in the Tipp setup with a league medal from 2008.

The 33-year-old full-forward played mostly on the edge of the square and had an intriguing head to head with Dublin skipper O'Donnell.

Callanan was quiet generally though and eventually taken off though Tipp still strode into a commanding early lead, moving 0-6 to 0-2 ahead after the first quarter.

Wing-back Robert Byrne was influential and boomed over a couple of long range scores while Forde nailed three frees, one from inside his own half.

Paul Flynn showed his skill to claim a long ball in, escape his man and point for Tipp too.

Dublin struggled against the stiff wind and took their time to get their intricate short passing game going.

It soon came good for them and they came back strongly into the contest in the second quarter.

A first-half wides tally of 10 undermined Dublin's efforts but they still led at the break, 1-8 to 0-10, following a powerful revival.

Hayes drilled three of Dublin's wides and struggled with his radar but he did strike the score that got the 2011 league champions' going again in the 18th minute.

From there to half-time they outscored Tipp by 1-6 to 0-4 as their slick passing began to come to the fore.

McBride's goal came in the 25th minute and was a reward for his strong running from the middle, the St Vincent's man seizing possession 25 metres out on the right and racing through for an eye-catching score.

Forde responded with a piece of excellence of his own as he converted a line ball from beneath the packed New Stand to tie the sides up at 1-5 to 0-8.

They were tied again twice approaching the interval before midfielder Conor Burke nudged Dublin into the lead after good work by Fergal Whitely.

Tipp restarted with gusto and suggested with four unanswered points from Morris and Forde that it would be a different second-half.

But it was a false dawn and Dublin once again resumed control, this time putting up a series of scores that ultimately put the game beyond Tipp.

Burke continued to be unerring from frees while McBride added to his haul with a peach of a point from the left wing.

James Madden and Whitely then split the posts before Hayes struck Dublin's second goal in the 50th minute, putting them five points clear.

Hayes did well to get his shot away without being hooked as he thundered towards goal at an acute angle along the right endline.

Tipp threw the kitchen sink at it late on and fought back to within a point with scores from substitutes Noel McGrath and Conor Bowe, along with Forde, but they couldn't reel in the Metropolitans.

Scorers for Dublin: Donal Burke 0-9 (0-8f), Rian McBride 1-2, Ronan Hayes 1-1, Fergal Whitely 0-2, James Madden 0-1, Conor Burke 0-1.

Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-12 (0-11f, 0-1 s/l), Jake Morris 0-3, Robert Byrne 0-2, Michael Breen 0-1, Noel McGrath 0-1, Conor Bowe 0-1. Paul Flynn 0-1.

Dublin: Sean Brennan; Andrew Dunphy, Eoghan O'Donnell, Cian O'Callaghan; John Bellew, Paddy Smyth, James Madden; Conor Burke, Chris Crummey; Donal Burke, Rian McBride, Danny Sutcliffe; Fergal Whitely, Ronan Hayes, Aidan Mellett.

Subs: Eamonn Dillon for Hayes 58, Davy Keogh for Whitely 64, Jake Malone for McBride 67, Paul Crummey for Mellett 67.

Tipperary: Barry Hogan; Eoghan Connolly, Brian McGrath, Craig Morgan; Robert Byrne, Seamus Kennedy, Ronan Maher; Alan Flynn, Paddy Cadell; Dan McCormack, Jason Forde, Michael Breen; Paul Flynn, Seamus Callanan, Jake Morris.

Subs: Noel McGrath for Cadell 55, John McGrath for Callanan 55, Conor Bowe for Flynn 62.

Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).