Sunday 26th January 2020
14-man Tipperary held on for a share of the spoils against Down in this opening Allianz League Division Three game played in Clonmel Sportsfield on Sunday past. Tipperary were reduced to 14 men five minutes into the second half when Jack Kennedy was dismissed for a second black card offence. At that juncture Tipperary led by just a point, and with the extra man and a slight breeze favouring Down, the odds seemed stacked in favour of the Mournemen. However if anything it seemed that Tipp improved when reduced to 14 men.
A fairly lacklustre opening quarter had Down leading 0-02 to 0-01, with all three points coming from frees - Donal O’Hare (2 for Down) and Conor Sweeney replying for the hosts. In that period Down looked the livelier and had a couple of half chances at goal, Cory Quinn almost getting in around the Tipperary goalkeeper Evan Comerford in the eighth minute.
Tipp midfielder Jack Kennedy was then black carded in the 16th minute and Down utilised that numerical advantage to go 0-04 to 0-01 up following two excellent points from Cory Quinn and Barry O’Hagan. Swopped frees from Sweeney and O’Hare left the Mournemen still three to the good after 27 minutes before Tipperary finished the half strongly with four unanswered points to lead by one at the break.
Goalkeeper Evan Comerford slotted over a free in the 29th minute followed by Steven O’Brien point, Tipperary’s first from play after 33 minutes. A point from a Liam Boland mark was quickly followed by another from Conor Sweeney to leave the score 0-06 to 0-05 in Tipperary's favour.
On the re-start Down goalkeeper Rory Burns kicked a 45 to level matters but Tipperary's Jack Kennedy replied to edge his side ahead again. However it was to be Kennedy’s last action as he picked up a second yellow card minutes later.
Points from Owen McCabe and Pat Havern, separated by a Conor Sweeney free saw the sides still all square at the three-quarters stage. Tipperary goalkeeper Comerford kicked his second free of the day in the 52nd minute to put the home side in front and Sweeney added a mark four minutes later to put two between the sides. Paddy Tally’s side though were determined get something from the game and Rory Burns reduced the gap to one with a 45, with seven minutes left on the clock. On the 64th minutes, a long ball in from Liam Kerr was fielded by McCabe and while for a second a goal looked on McCabe accepted the point to level the game.
Another nine minutes of actual playing time followed, with Down having numerous chances which they failed to convert. Final score: Tipperary 0-10 Down 0-10.
Tipperary: E Comerford (0-2, one free); A Campbell, J Meagher, C O’Shaughnessy; E Moloney, R Kiely, D Brennan; S O’Brien (0-1), Conal Kennedy; B Maher, J Kennedy (0-1), K Fahey; L Boland (0-1, free), C Sweeney (0-5, three frees), B Fox.
Subs: K O’Halloran for Fahey (HT); J Lonergan for Boland (59 min); T Nolan for Kennedy (65); Colman Kennedy for B Maher (66).
Down: R Burns (0-2, two 45s); G Collins, K McKernan, R McAleenan; S Annett, D O’Hagan, P Fegan; C Poland, S Dornan; C Maginn, B O’Hagan (0-1), D Guinness; D O’Hare (0-3, one free), O McCabe (0-2), C Quinn (0-1).
Subs: P Havern (0-1) for Dornan (HT); L Kerr for Maginn (42 min); N Donnelly for Poland (47); R McGarry for Guinness (52); J Flynn for B O’Hagan (65).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow)
Photos by Louis McNally