GAA Football

Lack of cutting edge cost Down opening day win in Tipperary admits boss Paddy Tally

Down boss Paddy Tally felt Down's lack of cutting edge cost them as they came away from Tipperary with a draw yesterday. Picture by Philip Walsh
From Neil Loughran in Clonmel

A LACK of cutting edge was the difference between Down starting their League campaign with a win and coming back up the road with a point, according to boss Paddy Tally.

The Mournemen were trailing by two heading into the final 10 minutes in Clonmel yesterday but battled back to snatch a share of the spoils, with Division Three already shaping up to be as hotly-contested as predicted.

A heavy, patchy pitch didn’t help but Tally insists they have to be more clinical in order to kick-start their promotion push, after seeing his side kick eight wides and spurn three goal chances.

“It was a fair enough result,” said the Galbally man.

“When we were down by two with less than 10 minutes to go, I’d have taken a draw. We weren’t playing particularly well – to be honest I couldn’t actually see how we were going to get an awful lot more out of that match, the way it was going. It was very difficult.

“Tipperary set up very defensively, sat behind the ball, they’re physically very strong, but we were the architects of our own downfall at times. Some of our decision-making up there, giving balls away needlessly, turning balls over... it was a tight game and it was very hard on those lads.

“It was heavy, it was hard going but it was the same for both teams. We didn’t handle it particularly well, we had three shots towards the end and nothing came off them. They were three possessions where if we’d had a bit more composure we could’ve got something.

“I wouldn’t blame the conditions. We just weren’t clinical enough.”

Down struggled to find a way through a dogged and defensive Tipperary side, even after the Premier men lost influential forward Jack Kennedy to a red card – after two blacks - five minutes into the second half.

“The way you’re set up when you’re playing that type of system, if you lose a man it doesn’t really matter because you’re just playing 14 behind the ball then,” said Tally.

“So it didn’t really make an awful lot of difference to the way the game was panning out. All it did was allow us to squeeze a wee bit higher, and we tried to press as high as we could in the second half to try and regain possession.

“But fair play to Tipperary, they were very good at working the ball out of defence, there’s a lot of experienced players there know how to play that kind of football.”

It was a first competitive game in charge for Tipp boss David Power since taking over from Liam Kearns, and he admitted he had been left “flabbergasted” by the black cards shown to Kennedy that left his side with 14 men.

“It’s a starting point but we’ve still got more work to do,” said Power, who led Tipperary to the 2011 All-Ireland minor title.

“What we’re really disappointed about is the consistency of the yellow and black card – I was flabbergasted. It was a good fair game, I thought the black cards were soft.

“But look, we could’ve easily died out there, we could’ve had several excuses, we could’ve blamed the referee, going down to 14 men, but we kept going.

“That could end up being a vital point for both teams.”

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GAA Football