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Comfortable victory over Tipperary

Sunday 21st May 2023

By Elaine Ingram at FBD Semple Stadium
RTÉ Sport reporter

Down did what they had to do in Semple Stadium on Sunday, with a comfortable victory over Tipperary that guarantees them a place in the next round and the potential to top the group.

Tipperary were desperate to reverse their woeful fortunes this season and pick up their first win of the year, but couldn't raise their game for the curtain-raiser for the Tipperary v Limerick SHC clash at Semple Stadium.

The Premier County lined up as per programme, while for Down Conor Laverty gave John O’Hare his championship debut in nets. Wides at both ends heralded a pedestrian first half with the six minutes first-half stoppage time reflecting a stop-start encounter where neither side showed any great flair.

There were moments of beauty, one such saw Down’s Ryan McEvoy deliver an inch-perfect cross for Pat Havern, who picked it up perfectly at the far side of the square, but the Saval player finished wide of the posts.  That was at the end of the first 35 , when Down led 0-8 to 0-2. Five of those scores came from frees, four scored by Havern.

Tipperary led 0-02 to 0-01 after 10 minutes with Sean O’Connor and Luke Kennedy pointing. That was as good as it got for the home side however as they were held to that until 39 minutes when Kennedy scored their third point. Traded scores in stoppage time between Ceilum Doherty and Kennedy from a free gave Down an 0-9 to 0-4 half-time lead.

Tipperary’s day was just about summed up early in the second half when they missed a penalty and Down scored a maximum. The Mournemen led 0-11 to 0-05 on 40 minutes when O’Connor was through for goal and was pulled down. Referee Thomas Murphy awarded a penalty that Kevin Fahey blazed wide.  Three minutes later Shealan Johnston picked up a pass at the other end and calmly picked his spot and rolled the ball into the net.

That signalled the end for Tipp with horns beginning to echo around the ground as it began to fill up for the main event.  Down continued to rack up the points and led 1-16 to 0-6 on 58 minutes when classy Burren player Odhran Murdock added a second goal.

The clock wound Down with the finishing score reading 2-18 to 0-6, the trip to Tipp well worth the effort.  Tipperary can only hope now that they beat Waterford in their final group match in a couple of weeks’ time, while Down will be aiming to top the group when they take on Meath in two weeks time.

Tipperary: Micheal O’Reilly; Shane O’Connell, Jimmy Feehan, Willie Eviston; Kevin Fahey, Colm O’Shaughnessy, Colman Kennedy; Paudie Feehan, Connall Kennedy; Emmett Moloney, Jack Kennedy, (0-04, 01f) Luke Boland; Mark Russell, Stephen Quirke, Sean O’Connor (0-02)

Subs: Teddy Doyle for Feehan h-t, James Morris for C Kennedy 48, Mikey O’Shea for Quirke 55, Donough Leahy for O’Shaughnessy 56, Dean Carew for Moloney 59,

Down: John O’Hare; Finn McElroy, Pierce Laverty, Anthony Doherty; Conor Francis (0-1), Gerard Collins, Patrick Branagan; Daniel Guinness, Pat Havern (0-06, 05f); Miceal Rooney, Ryan Johnston (0-01), Odhran Murdock (1-00); Andrew Gilmore (0-01,f), Ruairi O’Hare, Ceilum Doherty (0-02)

Subs: Shealan Johnston (1-01,f) for O’Hare 32, Donach McAleenan for Gilmore 32, Danny Magill (0-03) for Guinness 35+3, Ross Carr (0-01) for McElroy 46, Eamon Brown (0-02,02f) for Havern 56

Referee: Thomas Murphy (Galway)