By Joe Bracken
It is mission accomplished at this stage of the Allianz Hurling League for the Tipperary senior hurling management whose stated intent at the outset was to qualify for the quarter final stages at the very least. Following a comprehensive 2-27 to 2-15 victory over Cork in the final round on Sunday last in Semple Stadium the route forward has been mapped out following results elsewhere.
Capping off a wonderful Man of the Match display, Ballina’s Michael Breen notched up 1-4 from midfield while Niall O’Meara from Kilruane MacDonaghs scored Tipperary’s opening goal, ending up with 1-1 in total.
Last Sunday, saw a welcome return to action for Seamus Callanan from Drom & Inch after his recent injury worries, while Kieran Morris from Moycarkey-Borris and Willie Ryan from Clonakenny made their league debuts making it nine debutantes in total so far in the league for Tipperary as manager Michael Ryan gives lads a chance to nail down a place in his ever developing squad.
In the first round of the league against Dublin, Michael handed Daire Quinn (Nenagh Éire Óg) and Dan McCormack (Borris Ileigh) their full debut, while Dylan Fitzelle (Cashel King Cormacs), Joe Gallagher (Kiladangan) and Liam Ryan (Drom & Inch) also made their debut when introduced in the second half of that match. Against Kilkenny in round two Andrew Coffey (Nenagh Éire Óg) made his league debut also coming on in the second half, while Barry Heffernan again from Nenagh Éire Óg was handed his league debut at right half back starting against Waterford in round three.
Finishing fourth in the league, with 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw, Tipperary’s scoring dividend for the 5 round matches was 5-107, making them the only team in Roinn 1A to break the century mark in this campaign with points scored and also giving the panel a scoring point’s difference of plus 20, eight ahead of their next nearest.
All this equates to a visit to Cusack Park, Ennis on Sunday, April 3rd to meet Roinn 1B table toppers Clare which is now the immediate fixture on the Tipperary radar as management focuses the cross hairs on mapping a route for further progression in the league. Should a favourable result come our way in Ennis, a semi-final berth against Kilkenny or Offaly on April 17th would be the reward, however, more of that anon.