Austin Stars But Impressive Tipp Start New Season Very Positively

Tipperary's senior footballers got their 2011 season off to a positive start with a well deserved victory over UL at Sean Treacy Park, Tipperary Town on Sunday afternoon last when they kicked seven points without reply in a quarter of an hour in the second half.

Tipperary's senior footballers got their 2011 season off to a positive start with a well deserved victory over UL at Sean Treacy Park, Tipperary Town on Sunday afternoon last when they kicked seven points without reply in a quarter of an hour in the second half.

Tipperary 2-14; University of Limerick 0-13

Tipperary's senior footballers got their 2011 season off to a positive start with a well deserved victory over UL at Sean Treacy Park, Tipperary Town on Sunday afternoon last when they kicked seven points without reply in a quarter of an hour in the second half.

Despite the fact that Tipperary attacker Philip Austin coughed up six excellent points from play for UL from his centre forward berth in this game, the Borrisokane man could only watch with admiration as The Premier County turned the screw on his college colleagues in the second half and racked up an impressive 10 points, against just 4 for UL.

Yes, it was back to business early for the footballers who had just two training sessions under their belts before this tie – the hurlers were still holidaying as their football counterparts resumed action. And, although not at full strength by any means, the McGrath Cup afforded Manager John Evans and his selection team the opportunity to try out a few new combinations and see how the players stacked up. At the end of the day he was quite happy with the outcome.

"There was good scoring but you could see there from the first half that it was very rusty stuff. All in all it was very pleasing because we tried out a few new guys and I was pleased with those as well. They got games and that is very important for us," John told The Tipperary Star.

Rusty indeed in the first half and the fact that Tipp went in 2-4 to 0-9 in front was fortunate. A lot of ball handling mistakes and misdirection in the delivery were evident for much of the half, but Tipp managed to get the goals at the right stage to keep them in front.

Barry Grogan and Conor Sweeney had traded points with Jack Sherwood and Colin Dempsey early on and with Dempsey giving UL the lead in the 12th, the college side was beginning to control proceedings, especially at midfield and half back.

But, a fine goal from wing forward Stephen Hahessy in the 13th after Barry Grogan and Conor Sweeney had combined came against the run of play and threatened to upset the UL run. However, they continued to press and found points from Dean Ryan who came forward from defence, Philip Austin and Paul Kennelly.

Curiously enough, Tipp centre back Lorcan Egan was doing quite well in the outing, but UL centre forward Philip Austin was getting involved in the play too. He was moving well off the ball and found himself in many advanced positions with scores for the taking – by the end of the game he had shot three in each half, all from play.

Tipp struck for goal again in the 24th minute when Brian Mulvihill raced through after Barry Grogan set him up with a quick free – the goal was a real blow to UL with Barry Grogan following up with another point a minute later.

However, the college lads were not out of it and Tipp keeper Paul Fitzgerald was forced to save well from Austin in the 32nd minute before Paul Kennelly and Austin again followed up with two points. Tipp blood sub Niall Curran and Austin traded points before the interval leaving Tipp one up.

"We got two goals which gave us a cushion and we came out in the second half and kicked ten points. I asked them at half time to take a look at the scoreboard which looked a bit funny -2-4 – we had a little bit of a puff of breeze and we were playing into the scoring goals. But, we came out and kicked better in the second half which was very pleasing," John Evans said afterwards.

So, with UL now playing into the 'scoring goals' as John had put it, they tried to turn the screw on Tipp, and it was Austin who led the charge against his usual teammates. He kicked the first two points of the second half to restore the lead, but amazingly it was to take UL 21 minutes to register another score – by that time Tipperary were out the gate and heading for the next round against Waterford in Dungarvan on Sunday next.

Brian Mulvihill leveled and then sent Tipp in front with two converted frees while Seamus Grogan found his range also. Then, UL keeper Joe Lyster saved brilliantly from a Peter Acheson punched effort in the 19th to deny Tipp a third goal. However, the Premier men were on a roll which was to yield eight points in 14 minutes and effectively seal the win.

Brian Mulvihill, George Hannigan and a brace from Barry Grogan – two beauties - shoved Tipp six clear – just as Paul Fitzgerald saved well from UL full forward Kevin O'Sullivan. It was just as well too because Philip Austin and Colin Dempsey found scores for UL to give them some hope with five to go.

Tipp though were determined to see out this win and they did so in style with Brian Mulvihill – who managed 1-4 in the game, Barry Grogan – who kicked 0-5 from play – and sub Timmy Dalton giving Tipp a seven point cushion when referee Michael Collins (Cork) called time on proceedings.

"We enjoyed our outing and to be fair to UL they were good and lively. You could see that they had a good bit of work done – I knew that they had a good bit done over the Christmas break and our fellas had to open the lungs a small bit. I was pleased with the second half overall," John said.

And well pleased he could be. To kick 2-14 in a competitive outing is certainly something to be happy about and with no fewer than eight players getting on the scoring sheet it augurs well for Tipp. A good outing from the point of view of looking at a few things – Lorcan Egan and Dara Dwyer slotted in nicely to the half back line alongside the ever reliable Ciaran McGrath, Alan Rockett at midfield got through a lot of work alongside George Hannigan, and Paddy Codd was solid at full back. Of course Brian Mulvihill and Barry Grogan got the lions share of the scores, but at the other end, their Tipp colleague stole the headlines with his six point blast – Philip Austin for UL that is who was flanked by another influential Tipp man Brian Fox in the half forward line.

Paul Fitzgerald made a number of fine saves for Tipp too while Seamus Grogan put himself about in attack.

As Tipp prepare to face Waterford next weekend, the hope is that the game will have been of benefit to them in terms of sharpening up and improving link play. Allowances have to be made for the fact that the squad is only just back in collective training and this certainly accounts for much of the 'rustiness' to which John Evans referred.

"Waterford will be another game for us next weekend and we are looking forward to it now. We are all just feeling our way through at the present time and I suppose we are delighted to be getting these games so early in the season," said John who has welcomed back Seamus Grogan, Cathal Dillon and Conor Sweeney to the panel for the coming year as well as introducing a number of new players to the set-up.

UL certainly depended on Philip Austin in attack to fire their ambitions – they missed the services of Tipp panelist Alan Moloney who was sick for the game and who is now available to play for John Evans side as he is not 'cup tied' to borrow a phrase from another code.

Paul Kennelly. Niall Coyne, Thomas Ladden, Colin Dempsey, Brian Fox, Limerick senior hurler Seamus Hickey and Mark Dalton were others to impress for UL who have Tipp senior hurling trainer Cian O'Neill among their management team – he was not present on Sunday as he was still away with the Tipp hurlers.

Teams and Scorers:

Tipperary: P Fitzgerald, D Buckley, P Codd, A Morrissey, C McGrath, L Egan, D Dwyer, G Hannigan 0-1, A Rockett, S Hahessy 1-0, S Grogan 0-1, B Mulvihill 1-4, C Sweeney 0-1, B Coen, B Grogan 0-5. Subs: N Curran (blood sub)0-1, P Acheson for A Rockett; B Jones for B Coen; C Dillon for G Hannigan; T Dalton 0-1 for C Sweeney.

UL:B Scanlon, D O'Sullivan, M Dillon, F Fitzgerald, D Ryan 0-1, N Coyne, S Hickey, A O'Donovan, T Ladden, B Fox, P Austin 0-6, J Sherwood 0-1, P Kennelly 0-2, K O'Sullivan, C Dempsey 0-3. Subs: M Geaney for J Sherwood; R Rattigan for D O'Sullivan; R Kenny for F Fitgzerald; J Lyster for B Scanlon; M Cahalan for S Hickey.

Referee: M Collins (Cork)