Sharper Tipperary get league off to best possible start

Allianz NFL Division 3 Tipperary 0-10 Limerick 0-6 Tipperary footballers took their time getting into their stride in the opening Division 3 fixture of the National Football League but a rousing second half performance managed to see off the Limerick challenge.

Allianz NFL Division 3 Tipperary 0-10 Limerick 0-6 Tipperary footballers took their time getting into their stride in the opening Division 3 fixture of the National Football League but a rousing second half performance managed to see off the Limerick challenge.

This four point victory was hard earned and well deserved and got Tipperary off to the best possible start in the campaign.

With only three home games out of seven in the league it was imperative that Tipperary make those home games count and they did that in emphatic fashion thanks to an excellent second half performance.

Although Tipperary enjoyed the greater possession they found themselves three points to one adrift after thirty five minutes of football of the direst quality.

The first thirty five minutes of this contest was truly abysmal and any dedicated punter sitting in the sparsely attended stands would have been forgiven if they had given up on the proceedings at half time.

The Tipperary supporters, however, were rewarded for their perseverence when the team stepped up a gear, an upward shift that a labouring Limerick struggled to cope with.

After shooting nine wides in the first half Tipperary steadied themselves in the second and made their superior possession count winning the second period by nine points to three.

It was a solid team performance, one that John Evans and his management team will take great encouragement from.

In terms of workrate and a desire to win, Brian Fox led the way for Tipperary. His all action style set the tempo for Tipperary in the second half.

Lorcan Egan and Christopher Aylward were also outstanding in that second half in the half back line while the midfield pairing of Brian Jones and George Hannigan cleaned up in midfield.

Limerick failed to compete in that crucial area in the second half with the switch of full forward John Galvin to midfield backfiring on the Shannonsiders.

Substitute Conor Sweeney also made a big impression when introduced for Stephen Hahessy near the end of the first half.

Sweeney's pace and his movement added a new dimension to the Tipperary attack. He ran at the Limerick defence creating the space for Philip Austin, Peter Acheson and Barry Grogan who all had a bigger impact in the second half.

The Ballyporeen man came closest to getting Tipperary the goal that they threatened in the second half when his rasping shot came back off the crossbar ten minutes into the second half.

The only downside for Evans from this fixture was the loss of Cathal Dillon to a serious injury in the first half.

The Aherlow man sustained a serious shoulder injury in that first half and he could be out for some time. Tipperary managed to score just one point in the first thirty five minutes of play.It was a shocking return for a team that controlled the first half.

They redeemed themselves in the second half when the two point half time deficit was wiped out in a three minutes spell with a free from Barry Grogan after forty minutes and three minutes later George Hannigan finished off a flowing Tipperary move kick started by Dara Dwyer in the half back line.

Limerick took the lead once more through the excellent corner forward Ger Collins.

It was the last occasion that Limerick held the lead as Tipperary drove on.

John Galvin, now playing in midfield for Limerick, needlessly gave the ball away and George Hannigan picked out Conor Sweeney who punished Limerick taking the equalising point in some style. A quarter of an hour into the second half Hannigan again was instrumental in setting up a score, this time for Seamus Grogan and Tipperary were now in the driving seat. Peter Acheson added two long range scores in the space of two minutes and Tipperary now held a three point lead, a lead that Limerick never looked like pegging back.Substitute Conor Sweeney set up Philip Austin for a score which doubled the Tipperary lead (eight points to four). A Barry Grogan free stretched Tipp's lead even further and even though Limerick pulled two back through corner forward Ger Collins,Tipperary were on course to collect a valuable two points.

Goalie Paul Fitzgerald was called on however to protect their hard earned lead and he came out smartly to smother a Ger Collins shot to deny Limerick a goal that would have levelled matters.It was the only chance that Limerick created but the Tipperary defence stood firm when they were called on.

Tipperary finished the stronger and could have taken the goal their second half performance deserved but Peter Acheson was unceremoniously pulled to the ground as he made his way past two Limerick defenders with two minutes left.

Limerick's Mark Riordan was sent to the line for the offence and Barry Grogan converted the free to give Tipperary a four point winning margin. That four point gap flattered Limerick on the day as Tipperary looked a much better outfit particularly in the second half.

Tipperary: Paul Fitzgerald, Ciaran McDonald, Paddy Codd, Andrew Morrissey, Christopher Alyward, Lorcan Egan, Cathal Dillon, Brian Jones (0.1), George Hannigan (0.2), Brian Fox, Philip Austin (0.1), Peter Acheson (0.2), Stephen Hahessy, Seamus Grogan (0.1), Barry Grogan (0.3).Subs - Conor Sweeney ((0.1) for Stepen Hahassey, Dara Dwyer for Cathal Dillon, Brian Mulvihill for Philip Austin, Niall Curran for Brian Fox.

Limerick: Brian Scanlon, Mark Riordan, Johnny McCarthy, Shane Gallagher, John Riordan, Stepen Lucey, Pa Ranahan, Jim Donovan, John Galvin(0.1), Stephen Kelly, Philip Corrigan, Seanie Buckley, Pa Ryan, Seamus O'Carroll, Ger Collins (0.5)

Subs - John Mullane for Ian Ryan, Eogaan O'Connor for Seanie Buckley.