Tipperary Are League Champions09 Apr 2017
The spirit of Knocknagow is alive and well in the homes of Tipperary tonight as The Fantastic Mr. Fox led his team to Allianz National Football League glory this evening in Croke Park as the Premier overcame the challenge from Louth, 3-19 to 0-19.
The Jam in their excellent 1980 song That’s Entertainment sang of the many sights and sounds that enthralled lyricist Paul Weller. Well if Weller were to ever write an updated version there’s no doubt that watching Conor Sweeney bag a personal tally 2-5 in Croke Park has a serious case for being included in the list. The Ballyporeen man was in fine form this evening and put in a performance that left the Louth defense bewildered and confused like cows on astro turf.
It took him nine minutes to register his opening score, a pointed free, that steadied the Tipperary ship as Louth had raced into a 0-3 to no score lead. This was quickly followed by a fine Liam Casey point before Michael Quinlivan was unlucky to see his left-footed shot blaze narrowly wide.
Louth continued their dominance scoring four points with Tipperary’s only response coming from full forward Michael Quinlivan and Portroe’s Kevin O Halloran to leave it 0-7 to 0-4 in favour of the Wee County by the 26th minute.
From here on in though Tipperary began to take control of the game and points followed from Sweeney, O Halloran and Jack Kennedy before Sweeney put Tipperary in front for the very first time in the 30th minute, a lead they would not surrender.
Liam Casey scored a bullet of a goal moments later after Sweeney sent him through with a great pass and Alan Campbell quickly followed this up with a point for Tipperary. Two late Louth points were split in the middle by one for Sweeney to leave it 1-11 to 0-9 at the break.
Robbie Kiely and Declan Byrne shared points almost immediately after the resumption and over the next few minutes it appeared as if Louth were going to stage a brilliant second half fightback as they narrowed the gap to two points but Tipperary did not panic and points followed from the boots of Jack Kennedy, Kevin O Halloran and Quinlivan before Tommy Durnin pulled one back to make it 0-14 to 1-15.
Then the decisive moment of the match as Kevin O Halloran’s goal bound shot was blocked but Sweeney was on-hand to blast home the rebound to open the gap to seven points. Louth did stage another mini revival and narrowed it to four before points from Josh Keane and Liam McGrath settled any Tipperary nerves. Sweeney put the icing on the cake with a late goal after being put through be a great pass from Liam McGrath to leave it 3-19 to 0-19 at the full-time whistle.
Scorers for Tipperary – C Sweeney 2-5 (0-3f), L Casey 1-1, K O’Halloran (2f) & M Quinlivan (2f) 0-3 each, J Kennedy 0-2, A Campbell, R Kiely, J Keane, L Boland & L McGrath 0-1 each.
Scorers for Louth – R Burns 0-5 (4f), T Durnin & J McEneaney (3f) 0-3 each, P Smith & D Byrne (1f) 0-2 each, D Maguire, A McDonnell, B Duffy & E O’Connor 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY – E Comerford; A Campbell, P Codd, W Connors; R Kiely, S O’Connell, B Maher; L Casey, J Kennedy; J Keane, K O’Halloran, B Fox; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan, E Moloney.
Subs – G Hannigan for Moloney (52), LBoland for O’Halloran (61), C O’Shaughnessy for Connors (64), A Moloney for Kennedy (66), L McGrath for Keane (70+1), J Hennessy for Quinlivan (70+6).
LOUTH – C Lynch; P Rath, P Reilly, A Williams; D Maguire, J Bingham, J Stewart; T Durnin, A McDonnell; D Byrne, P Smith, B Duffy; A Reid, E O’Connor, R Burns.
Subs – K Murphy for Reilly (h.t.), R Moore for Reid (45), J McEneaney for O’Connor (48), G McSorley for Burns (57), C McKeever for Durnin (64), J Califf for Byrne (70).
Referee – A O’Connor (Wicklow)