Thursday 18 January 2018

Lightening strikes twice as Tipp down Dessie's Dubs in closing stages of semi

all-ireland u21 fc semi-final

Steven O'Brien, Tipperary, in action against Stephen Cunningham, Dublin
Steven O'Brien, Tipperary, in action against Stephen Cunningham, Dublin


That sinking feeling, too. The one Dessie Farrell most certainly felt during the 2011 All-Ireland minor decider when that Tipperary team, featuring many of the same central characters, turned a six-point deficit to dust and into a minor All-Ireland,

This, mind, wasn't much like that defeat.

There was no sudden implosion, just the slow, discernible shift in momentum, propelled by a stiff wind and a forceful Tipperary midfield, that forced Dublin's five point lead into a two-point (0-14 to 0-12) Tipperary win.

A victory that put Tommy Toomey's Premier County men into their first All-Ireland Under 21 final.

One they were full value for - more even.

Farrell said he had "no plans" made whether to continue his otherwise exemplary underage management stint with Dublin into another season.


But it was hard to escape the feeling from him either that his business wasn't just finished in the All-Ireland Under 21 Championship.

As for why his team - the one that showed patches of vulnerability but also but larger swathes of excellence across the three wins of their Leinster title victory - let Tipperary back in, Farrell mused: "I just thought we were a bit lethargic and slow in getting at them when the opportunities to counter attack arose.

"We took too much out of the ball and we weren't going at it with the punch we did on other occasions.

"Maybe ultimately that cost us because we didn't penetrate the way we wanted to."

Given the force of the gale in Tullamore, Dublin's 0-7 to 0-3 half-time lead didn't look much like a handsome bounty.

Partly, their failure to get Conor McHugh (0-4, 1f) and Cormac Costello (0-4, 3f) on the ball more often and in more advantageous positions contributed to their inability to zoom further ahead.


And in Steven O'Brien and Colin O'Riordan, Tipperary had two midfielder of boundless energy and ferocious strength.

Both scored two points apiece but their respective contributions were much, much greater again.

When Tipp went two up (0-11 to 0-9) with three minutes to go, it seemed as though Dublin's goose was well cooked but a Costello free and a brilliant effort from David Campbell levelled it.

In the second minute of injury time though - and after Tipperary had secured a free out of scoring distance of the Dublin posts - O'Brien, someone, ambled into an area featuring no nearby Dublin defenders.

O'Riordan found him with the pass and the rest was inevitable. Kevin O'Halloran added the safety score from a free just after.

"We're disappointed today but that's all part of the learning curve," added Farrell.

SCORERS - Tipperary: K O'Halloran 0-4 (3f), J Keane 0-3 (3f), S O'Brien, C O'Riordan 0-2 each, R Mulcahy, J Lonergan 0-1 each. Dublin: C Costello (3f), C McHugh (f) 0-4 each, S Carthy 0-2, C Basquel, D Campbell 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: E Comerford; K Fahey, J Feehan, C O'Shaughnessy; R Mulcahy, L Boland, B Maher; S O'Brien, C O'Riordan; J Lonergan, I Fahey, L Casey; K O'Halloran, J Keane, P Maher. Subs: D McEnroe for P Maher (59).

DUBLIN: L Molloy; D Byrne, M Cahalane, R McGowan; A Farrell, E Lowndes, C Mullally; Stephen Cunningham, S Carthy; N Scully, A Foley, E Murchan; C Basquel, C Costello, C McHugh. Subs: Shane Cunningham for Stephen Cunningham (26), S Clayton for Foley (45), A Byrne for Basquel (49), E Fletcher for Cahalane (49), D Campbell for Scully (52).

WIDES - Tipperary: 6 (4 + 2). Dublin: 11 (7 + 4).

BOOKED - Tipperary: 2 (Casey 37, K Fahey 58). Dublin: 1 (Mullaly).

BLACK CARD - Tipperary: 0. Dublin: 1 (Fletcher 49).

REF: J Henry (Mayo).


MAN OF THE MATCH: Steven O'Brien (Tipperary).

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