McGeeney on the line for Tipp defeat Westmeath

By Jackie Cahill


By Jackie Cahill

McGeeney on the line for Tipp defeat Westmeath
Tipperary 3-20

Tipperary 3-20

Westmeath 0-13

TIPPERARY’S senior hurlers cruised to a 16-point victory against Westmeath in a challenge game played at The Ragg last Saturday afternoon.

The Midlanders provided the opposition in a fundraiser for the local Inch National school, after Laois pulled out just days before the game.

Tipp have another challenge game lined up for next Saturday – when they face Wexford at the Clonmel Sportsfield (2.0).

Tipp were short a number of key players themselves but members of an extended winter training squad were handed the chance to impress.

Spectators will have been interested in the new players on show and in this regard, James Logue was named as goalkeeper, following the retirement of Brendan Cummins.

The Ballingarry man acquitted himself well and was extremely vocal, although a couple of loose puckouts led to turnovers and Westmeath scores.

At right corner back, Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill) turned in a very tidy hour and Cappawhite’s Tom Treacy picked off a point from play in the first half.

Seamus Kennedy (St Marys) partnered Brendan Maher at midfield and up front, there were run-outs for David Collins (Drom & Inch), Denis Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), Tadhg Gallagher (Kildangan) and Conor Kenny (Borrisoleigh).

All four of the new forwards managed to get on the scoresheet, with established Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher netting a goal in each half.

Kenny scored Tipp’s other goal, in the eleventh minute, as the recruit from Kildare took a pass from Maher before drilling an unstoppable rising drive past Westmeath goalkeeper Peter Collins.

Ballina’s Steven O’Brien, a dual All-Ireland minor medallist, also came off the bench to impress and Loughmore-Castleiney’s Liam McGrath picked off a point too.

Brendan Maher did not appear for the second half after appearing to ship an ankle injury in the first half but his withdrawal was presumably a precautionary move as he was soon linking up with his teammates in the Premier County dugout.

Kieran McGeeney also made his first public appearance with the team, in his new role as performance consultant.

McGeeney, the former Kildare senior football team manager who captained Armagh to the 2002 All-Ireland senior title, is seen as a vital cog in wheel by team manager Eamon O’Shea.

A player who prepared meticulously for matches, McGeeney made his name as a man who would leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of success.

O’Shea will hope that McGeeney’s winning mentality will rub off on Tipp’s players next year, after county board secretary Tim Floyd called for greater levels of intensity and workrate in his annual report.

Encouragingly, Tipp did not let their loyal supporters down last Saturday afternoon as they hassled, harried and hit their opponents hard.

Westmeath didn’t back down either and ensured that the game remained competitive until early in the second half, when ‘Bonner’ Maher cracked home his second goal.

Tipp led by 2-9 to 0-9 at half-time and when referee Anthony Stapleton blew his final whistle, Seamus Callanan had scored 0-9 for Tipp, including six frees.

Scorers for Tipperary: Patrick Maher 2-1, S Callanan 0-9 (6f), C Kenny 1-2, D Collins & D Maher 0-2 each, T Treacy, T Gallagher, L McGrath & S O’Brien 0-1 each.

Scorers for Westmeath: N O’Brien 0-9 (6f), E Price 0-2 (1f), P Reilly & D Fennell 0-1 each.

Tipperary: James Logue (Ballingarry); Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill), Pádraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), Paddy Stapleton (Borrisoleigh); James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane), Tomás Hamill (Killea), Tom Treacy (Cappawhite); Seamus Kennedy (St Marys, Clonmel), Brendan Maher (Borrisoleigh); David Collins (Drom & Inch), Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch), Denis Maher (Thurles Sarsfields); Tadhg Gallagher (Kildangan), Conor Kenny (Borrisoleigh), Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha). Subs: Steven O’Brien (Ballina) for Collins (27), Liam McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) for B Maher (h.t.), D Collins for Callanan (50).

Westmeath: P Collins; P Hayde, T Doyle, L Varley; P Gilsenan, A Craig, P Reilly; D Fennell, T Gallagher; K Murphy, D Gavin, E Price; C Curley, N O’Brien, C Glennon. Subs: M Heaney for Gilsenan (26), B Doyle for Reilly (40), N Leonard for Fennell (48), K Duncan for Gallagher (48), A Clune for Glennon (62).

Referee: A Stapleton (Laois).