Monday, 22 August 2016

Great campaign comes to a halt.

All-Ireland senior football semi-final: Mayo,2-13,Tipperary 0-14.
In yesterday's game played at Croke Park,Tipperary led Mayo by 6 points to 3,after 25 minutes.Then,what I describe as a "blind pass"-i.e.a side pass without a proper view of where the ball is going-gave possession to Mayo from which they scored a goal.They followed this with 7 points to Tipperary's 1 before half-time,to lead at the break by 1-10 to 0-7.
   Tipperary,to their great credit,reduced the margin to 2 points by the third quarter.A Mayo substitute lost his footing,as he was about to shoot for a point,struck the ball with some part of his boot,it trickled through to the edge of the small square where the loitering Conor O'Shea had the easy task of shooting to the net.This ended the game as a contest.With a little luck Tipperary would have been much closer at the finish;with a lot of luck they could have got over the line! Maybe it was for the best! Tipperary are not ready to take on the Kerrys and Dublins,of this world yet.They played to the best of their ability in all their games as they were underdogs.Mayo have the capacity to raise their game to a much higher level,which I hope they do and go on and win their first All-Ireland since 1951.
  The true Tipperary Gaels who have done so much in recent years to restore Tipperary to football eminence cannot rest on their laurels.They cannot merely do the same things again and expect a different result.Great work in the restoration has been done,but it is only at foundation level and must be built upon.A plan should be drawn up taking on board the views of anyone that matters.A greater effort should be made to activate the game throughout the county,especially in the three big towns that only promote the game at under-age level presently.The club championships should be made as competitive as possible,and completed in a reasonable time.Only top-level coaching from juvenile-level up should be entertained.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Tipp Squeeze Tight Win

All-Ireland SHC Semi-final:

Tipperary 2-19; Galway 2-18

Yesterday's senior hurling semi-final at Croke Park was one of swaying fortunes. Tipperary started slightly on top, but Galway got right into it when they scored a fortuitous goal as a result of a very dangerous gambit by a Tipperary defender — an attempted pass over-the-shoulder. Tipperary had a dominant spell after about a quarter of an hour with four unanswered points, but Galway finished the half strongly to lead by two points at half-time.

The second half was tit-for-tat most of the way until Galway scored a second goal which gave them a three point lead. The introduction of John O'Dwyer gave Tipperary a great boost. He scored a fine goal himself and drew the fire away from Seamus Callanan and John McGrath resulting in the latter scoring a vital Tipp goal within minutes of the first. Galway were still attacking at the end but time ran out for them. They suffered the loss of two key players, including the great Joe Canning through injury at half-time.

Tipperary will need to be far more assertive and confident to oust Kilkenny in the final.

Monday, 1 August 2016

History in the Making

All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final:

Tipperary 3-13; Galway 1-10

Who would have believed it? Tipperary are now through to an All-Ireland Senior Football semi-final for the first time since their harrowing defeat to Cavan in 1935 (as I chronicled here). While a narrow victory would have been a most pleasant result for the loyal supporters who travelled to Croke Park yesterday, the manner and margin of the win demands the use of superlatives.

Unsurprisingly, Tipperary started tentatively allowing Galway to build up a four-points lead. The blue and gold machine then got into gear, notching up 1-06 without reply. Galway rallied and, with the help of a powerfully-driven goal, reduced the margin to three points at half-time. The first ten minutes of the second-half decided the outcome when Tipperary produced two goals, coolly taken by the rangy Conor Sweeney from Ballyporeen. Tipperary didn't score for the last 19 minutes and Galway added a mere two points as the tempo of the game slackened greatly. The final whistle brought jubilant Tipperary supporters onto the pitch where they celebrated loudly with players and management for more than 20 minutes. While not taking anything from Tipperary's famous victory, the Galway team greatly under-performed. They seemed to freeze every time Tipperary scored a goal and, when they conceded the third goal, they gave up the ghost.

Prior to the game I felt that Tipperary had a lot of potential in the forward line, but I was fearful that their backs would be unable to cope with the Galway forwards who showed great potency in the replayed Connacht final. The backs stuck manfully to their task while the forwards displayed a wide range of skills with centre-half forward, Kevin O'Halloran, contributing nobly. Kevin, along with Philip Austin and George Hannigan, should be presented with special medals by the GAA in recognition of the standard they have achieved despite having to hone their skills in the football wilderness of North Tipperary.

Tipperary have produced many outstanding footballers down the years, but the teams lacked one essential ingredient and that is 'confidence'. This team has it in spades and, in the upcoming semi-final against Tyrone or Mayo, they should give it a real go.

The best of luck to them.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Wonderful Tipperary Win

All-Ireland Senior Football Qualifiers:

Tipperary 1-21;  Derry 2-17

Every loyal Tipperary supporter will be filled with joy following the county's one point win in last evening's game played at Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan. Tipperary are now through to the All-Ireland Senior Football quarter-finals for the first time in the modern era.

Tipp captain, Peter Acheson, celebrates with manager, Liam Kearns 
While every notable win by a football team representing the county is cherished, this victory will rank in the top echelon when one considers: the unavailability of leading players before the start of the competition (as already chronicled); the rather heavy defeat to Kerry in the Munster final following a historic victory over Cork; and the unfair distance the team had to travel to fulfil this challenging fixture.

Playing with the breeze, Tipperary started well and led by four points until they were rocked back by a Derry goal and found themselves a point behind at half-time. An extra effort was needed in the second-half and it was forthcoming, boosted by a goal from Kevin O'Halloran who availed of a poor Derry kick-out. On the 65 minute mark Tipperary led by five points, but Derrry weren't finished and scored a goal and three points to take the lead. True heart was needed and it came in the form of a strapping lad from Ballyporeen, Conor Sweeney, whose trusty left foot drove over two late points to clinch a famous victory.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Big Wins for Tipperary

Munster SHC Final:

Tipperary 5-19; Waterford 0-13

Munster MHC final:

Tipperary 1-24; Limerick 0-10

Prior to yesterday's senior hurling final at rain-sodden Limerick Gaelic grounds, nobody would have predicted that there would be a margin of 21 points separating the sides at the end of the game. Waterford had slightly the better of matters for the first fifteen minutes. With the wind at their backs, they missed a few chances for points; Tipperary got an opportunist goal and Waterford confidence began to wilt. When Tipperary got a second goal shortly after half-time, Waterford collapsed as Tipperary confidence rocketed with victory in sight and the breeze at their backs. It was a demoralising defeat for the young skillful players on the Waterford team and they will require very intelligent managing to raise their morale for their next outing.

Tipperary showed more determination than in their previous matches. They didn't engage in unnecessary passing; and they refrained, a great deal, from using their arms to stop an opponent's progress. Much sterner tests lay ahead.

The minor final also produced a very surprising margin of victory for Tipperary — nobody would have predicted that either team would win by 17 points. In the first round, Tipperary lost to Waterford at Walsh Park. They regrouped to beat Clare at Ennis in the loser's group play-off. In the semi-final they produced a virtuoso last 25 minutes to turn a six-point deficit into a six point win against Cork at Pairc Ui Rinn.

I was very pleased that, for the first time, the South Tipperary division provided the largest number of players to a championship winning Tipperary hurling team with six in the first fifteen and dynamic sub, Dylan Walsh, contributing greatly. Included among the six was my fellow parishioner Mark Kehoe from the Kilcash-Kilsheelan club.

Hopefully they can go all the way.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Democracy in Wrong Hands

The vote by the British electorate to leave the European Union has sent economic shock-waves around the world. Countries within the Union are more seriously concerned — especially our own. Ireland relies heavily on exports and any tremors in our market countries affect us greatly. The UK is our biggest purchaser of goods, especially agricultural produce. They are now in a situation where they are not subject to common market rules and can purchase their goods wherever possible. It is imperative for Ireland that the EU strikes a trade deal with the UK as soon as possible.

On the positive side, this result may increase foreign direct investment into Ireland much of which in the past would have gone to the UK.

There are many reasons why people vote in a particular way: it could be based on mature, responsible thinking; or being completely influenced by others — especially the media; or vindictiveness by people who feel marginalized and are very anti-establishment.

Let us hope that the doomsday scenario can be avoided.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Tipp through to Munster Final

Munster SHC Semi-Final: 

Tipperary 3-12; Limerick 1-16

Tipperary senior hurlers withstood a late Limerick goal, and the loss of a man to a red card after 14 minutes, to qualify for the Munster final following today's game at Semple Stadium, Thurles. The wet conditions before, and at times during the game, led to some scrappy play. Tipperary played well but spoilt their good work through faulty, and at times unnecessary, hand passing. Some of their players have a tendency to use their arm to stop an opponent's progress thereby conceding simple scores from frees.

Limerick hadn't much to offer, yet if they had got their goal with more time remaining, they could have snatched a win. Tipperary were lucky to have the cushion of two early opportunist goals helped by the slippery conditions. It indicates that they have plenty of work to do before taking on Waterford in the Munster final on July 10th.