Hurling & Camogie

Tipperary get win they need to secure semi-final place as injury-ravaged Antrim turn focus to Championship

Liam Cahill’s men too strong for Saffrons as they capitalise on Galway-Limerick draw to last four berth

Tipperary's Paddy  Cadell in action against Antrim's  Fred Mc Curry and Niall McKenna    in Saturday' s NHL Division One match at Corrigan Park   Picture:  Seamus Loughran
Tipperary's Paddy Cadell in action against Antrim's Fred Mc Curry and Niall McKenna in Saturday' s NHL Division One match at Corrigan Park Picture: Seamus Loughran (seamus loughran)
Allianz Hurling League Division One Group B: Antrim 0-12 Tipperary 2-21

IT all went to script for Tipperary at Corrigan Park on Saturday as they claimed the win they needed to move into a League semi-final against Clare.

It wasn’t a vintage performance by Liam Cahill’s side, but they did what was required in sodden conditions with Jason Forde landing a dozen points, while Jake Morris rattled the home net in each half.

The draw between Galway and Limerick ensured any type of victory for Tipp would suffice for a place in the semi-finals and there was no danger of anything but that outcome as they held the upper hand across the board.

Antrim just didn’t have enough going forward to keep pace with the visitors despite being full of endeavour and their campaign ends in a whitewash with five defeats, but will not look to build into the Championship where they will hope to have their lengthy list of injuries begin to clear.

“We were battling against it from the off there,” said Antrim manager Darren Gleeson.

“For the first 20, 25 minutes, possession-wise it was equal enough but they just finished their plays.

“We scored a point from a free and the next thing it’s a (Tipperary) goal with someone not resetting into their position and we get punished.

“We lacked any real scoring threat. There was endeavour and effort, but it was a dead match for us and prior to it with the other game (Galway v Limerick) being a draw, Tipp just had to get over the line and into next weekend.

Antrim manager Darren Gleeson    
Picture: Seamus Loughran
Antrim manager Darren Gleeson Picture: Seamus Loughran (seamus loughran)

“We’ve been missing a third of the squad for the League and will hopefully have that third for Championship as the boys are progressing well with injuries, so we’ll see where that takes us.”

Aodhán O’Brien actually gave Antrim the initial lead, but Sean Kenneally would reply instantly.

An O’Brien free cancelled out Jason Forde’s first of the day, but this would be as good as it got for the Saffrons with Tipp rattling off the next five scores with Forde dead-eyed from placed balls, while Kenneally grabbed his second and Jake Morris found his range.

O’Brien was Antrim’s sole scorer in the opening period, adding another pair of frees as Eoghan Connolly got in on the act four the visitors who weren’t exactly setting the world alight either.

The hosts had a let-off when carved open for the first time after 29 minutes when a goal seemed certain but play brought back for a throw.

There would be no such reprieve minutes later as Conor Stakelum made the burst forward and popped into Morris to finish, while Forde’s sixth of the first half put the Premier into a 1-10 to 0-4 lead.

Forde and O’Brien traded pointed frees straight after the restart and the pair would continue to lead the way in the scoring stakes, both doubling their half-time tally,

Niall McKenna landed for the hosts to ease the burden with the first of his three second half scores and he was denied a goal from the boot of Rhys Shelly.

But Tipperary began to extend the gap with substitutes Dan McCormack and Darragh Stakelum adding to scores from Bryan O’Mara and Danny Slattery.

There was no doubt about the destination of the points, but Tipp would finish with something of a flourish as Morris banged home a second goal to seal a win and a League semi-final berth.

Tipperary manager Liam Cahill
Tipperary manager Liam Cahill (seamus loughran)

“We came up to win the match and that was our primary objective,” said Tipperary boss, Liam Cahill.

“The players didn’t know but someone told me just at the throw-in about the draw in Pearse Stadium. It’s just as well (Galway and Limerick drew) as we would have needed to get up to the 30-point mark.

“I’m happy to a certain extent, but lots to work on and next weekend will be a big test.”

ANTRIM: C McFadden; P Duffin, R McCloskey, P Burke; S Walsh, R McGarry, E Og McGarry; E Campbell, N O’Connor; N McKenna (0-3), A O’Brien (0-8, 0-7 frees), C Boyd; E McFerran, C McCann, F McCurry.

Subs: R McAteer (0-1) for F McCurry (53), C McGarry for E Og McGarry (53), E Trainor for S Walsh (62), A Bradley for C McCann (68), R McCormick for N O’Connor (68)

TIPPERARY: R Shelly; D Slattery (0-1), R Maher, C Morgan; M Breen, R Byrne, B O’Mara (0-1); P Cadell, E Connolly (0-1); C Stakelum, S Kenneally (0-2), N McGrath; J Moris (2-2), J Forde (0-12, 0-8 frees, 0-1 65), D Ryan.

Subs: S Hayes for S Ryan (H-T), D Stakelum (0-1) for E Connolly (40), C Quinn for P Cadell (49), D McCormack (0-1) for N McGrath (56), B Seymour for S Kenneally (65)

REFEREE: C Mooney (Dublin)