Thursday 17 July 2014

Defeat for Tipp Under-21 Hurlers

Munster U-21 Hurling Semi-Final:

Clare 5-19; Tipperary 1-25 (AET)

This game, played at Cusack Park in Ennis yesterday evening and won by Clare in extra time, was one that Tipperary should have won in the regular 60-plus minutes. Throughout the field, I felt that Tipperary had the advantage in most positions. The main factor in Clare's win was the presence on their team of a number of players who had won All-Ireland Senior Hurling honours last year as well as an Under-21 victory. Tipperary contributed to their own defeat with some costly errors—mixed in with some great skill and heart in most positions. Tipperary's defending of their goal was faulty.This has been a problem with Tipperary teams for many years. The tackling of opposing players was lamentable at times. It was dreadful to see an arm or hurley wrapped around an opponent's neck or any other part of their bodies. This has also been a problem with Tipperary teams for many a day. Some easy frees were missed. It has been evident to me for a long time that there is a lack of proper training in the basics of the game for juvenile players in Tipperary.

Sunday 13 July 2014

Dual Success again for Tipperary

All-Ireland Senior Qualifiers

Football: Tipperary 3-17; Laois 4-9
Hurling: Tipperary 5-25; Offaly 1-20

These games, played at O'Moore Park in Portlaoise yesterday evening, brought satisfying results for Tipperary. Offaly hurling has been in a recession for some time, so the hurlers were expected to win fairly easily following their dramatic win over Galway the previous week. The footballers' victory, and the fashion in which it was achieved, showed that they have matured a lot in self-belief and determination. They had a great first-half, building up a lead of ten points at half-time, but ran into a Laois blitz early in the second half when they were hit with three goals. Laois scored a fourth goal in the 62nd minute to level the game. Tipperary showed their mettle by scoring 1-3 in the final minutes to win by five points. The forwards are capable of taking on the best, but the defense will have to win the early ball and move it fast; you only get away with conceding four goals once in the blue moon. The hurlers also had a ten points lead at half-time. They went into a bit of slumber for a while and Offaly got back to within four points of them. They upped the tempo again and won easily in the end. Best of luck to both teams.

Monday 7 July 2014

A Very Good Evening for Tipperary

All-Ireland Senior Qualifiers

Football: Tipperary 2-17; Longford 0-6
Hurling: Tipperary 3-25; Galway 4-13

The double victories for Tipperary footballers and hurlers at Semple Stadium, Thurles last Saturday evening were very important for both codes in the county. I did not get any pleasure from the fact that Longford and Galway were the defeated opponents. I have long admired Galway hurlers for their skill and commitment, the spectacular performances they produce at times, and of course the one and only Joe Canning. Longford is a county small in size and population which has always played its part in a sporting, cultural and true patriotic sense. We all remember the great Sean McKeoin from Ballinalee. I can also recall their great National League final win over Kerry in 1968 followed by a Leinster senior championship final win in the same year.

The Tipperary wins last Saturday were milestones for different reasons. The hurlers needed to throw off the shackles of their indecisiveness, especially in the closing stages of vital games; in future games they will need to eliminate the naive defending that gifted at least two goals to Galway. For the footballers it was very important to get a victory to maintain recent progress. They will know that from now on the real test will come. The best of luck to them.