Minor 2

Tipperary Minor Hurlers – 2016 Championship Year

On the hurling front the first of two joyous journeys began in April in Walsh Park as the Tipperary Minor panel travelled to play Waterford on home soil. The Déise had lost their first match, a Munster Quarter-Final clash to Cork so a win was a must against an untested Tipperary outfit. Though playing well and eager to find their rhythm Tipp were in front early on thanks to a Dillon Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore) goal, but were caught by a late Waterford rally with a single score the difference between the sides at full time, Waterford edging this contest 1-20 to 1-17.

It was off to Cusack Park next where Clare also smarting from an opening Quarter-Final loss were Tipp’s next opponents. The first engaging signs of what Liam Cahill’s side was about this year blossomed in spells that night. However, once a rocky second half patch was negotiated the side eventually got the wagons firmly back on track to claim the victory thanks to goals from Cian Darcy (Kilruane MacDonaghs) and Dylan Walsh (Ballingarry), as the line of focus was outlined in stark contrast that night.

As they did in all their games this year, Tipp were on the road again for their next match, this time against Cork in the Munster Semi-Final in Pairc Ui Rinn. In a game which was viewed by many as the catalyst for the key defining shift in momentum for Cahill’s side in this year’s championship their second half performance was utterly sublime. A fancied Rebel outfit were thought a fundamental lesson in work rate attitude in that second half. Excellence on the side-line through astute substitutions was matched in equal measure inside the whitewash as a magnificent performance saw Tipperary head to the Munster Final with extra buoyancy in their step following a 0-23 to 1-15 defeat of the Rebels. Though they failed to raise a green flag in this match these Tipp minors found their mojo that night and how important that would prove to be as the year progressed.

So with an explosion of exuberance the side headed to the Gaelic Grounds in July on a miserable day for hurling. That didn’t deter Cahill’s collective crew from delivering a harsh punishment to an unsuspecting Limerick side as Tipperary coasted to victory to claim their 39th provincial minor title in emphatic style with 1-24 on the board in comparison to Limerick’s 0-10. Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg) received the Man of the Match Award following his terrific display in which he scored 1-4 from play.

The hurling stars were now being perfectly aligned for this current group of Tipperary minors as they started coming of age in a hurling sense. All along their manager was professing what he knew they had within, now that it had come to the surface the world was their oyster. Recent successes were enough to raise the level of interest around the side so combined with added expectation the team took the highway to Croke Park as they went on a mission to settle a score from last year following defeat by Galway in the All-Ireland final. What happened next was unforeseen outside the group. In breath-taking fashion Tipperary carried their recent vein of rich form into the All-Ireland semi-final dismantling the Galway effort with absolute ease shooting seven goals in the process in a 7-12 o 2-12 rout to make them the hot favourites to claim back the Irish Press Cup last held in 2012. On his way to claiming the Man of the Match Cian Darcy had a hat trick of goals and was joined by a brace from Rian Doody (Cappawhite) and one each from Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash) and Ger Browne (Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams).

And so the first Tipperary team in action on All-Ireland Final day saw the side deliver a below par first half performance by recent standards, just about shading proceedings at half time in what was a nervous opening period. However, tense and tough Liam Cahill’s side stood tall and took on the Treaty challenge where it mattered most, on the score board. The second half opened up as soon as the Limerick net was shaking thanks to a Jake Morris strike giving Tipperary the incentive and the cushion they required to force the issue to which they did resolutely as they held out to secure the Irish Press Cup with the final score reading Tipperary 1-21 Limerick 0-17.

To wild and ecstatic cheers from his team mates and supporters Brian McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand to receive the Irish Press Cup from Uachtaráin Aogan Ó Fearghail and in doing so started off what would be a wonderful day for Tipperary.

Keeping in line with previous performances Tipperary also scooped the Man of the Match Award when Colin English (Fr. Sheehy’s) was bestowed with the honour after his great display.

It was a terrific year for the Tipperary Minor Management team who witnessed a profitable harvest following the fruits of their labours. It’s at this time of year that the building blocks of success at Minor level go unnoticed by many. This is the time when prospective players are watched and scrutinised to see who has the potential to reach the  next level, what are the signs where are the indications that such traits can be caught a glimpse of to unearth new talent not alone for minor but for senior ranks as well. For that the Tipperary minor management take a bow, coach Michael Bevans (Toomevara) selectors John Sheedy (Portroe), Sean Corbett (Boherlahan-Dualla), TJ Ryan (Clonoulty-Rossmore) and Manager Liam Cahill (Ballingarry).