Hurling league wrap: Tipperary begin campaign with victory over Dublin

Galway thrash an understrength Westmeath in Salthill

National Hurling League Division 1 Group B: Tipperary 2-27 Dublin 0-22

In the race for an all important top-three position, and top tier hurling in 2025, every result counts and this was a particularly significant encounter.

Dublin must have fancied their chances of an early season upset win at Parnell Park, their fortress over the years, but never looked like pulling it off.

Second-half goals from Sean Ryan and Jake Morris caught the eye though the result seemed a near foregone conclusion from as early as the 15th minute when Tipp led 0-11 to 0-4.


And so they will host Galway in Round 2 next Sunday knowing that with Westmeath and Antrim still to play, they are in the driving seat as regards making the top three.

Dublin, meanwhile, have it all to do and if they can’t beat Antrim in Belfast next Sunday then what hope will they have against Limerick at Croke Park in Round 3?

Their hands were tied a little here by the absence of Donal Burke, their best forward, and Eoghan O’Donnell, their best defender while Danny Sutcliffe didn’t feature either and how they must wish Chris Crummey had agreed to a return for 2024.

Still, Tipp were down some household names too and manager Liam Cahill said it won’t be until the second-half of the campaign that they’ll see Noel McGrath, Jason Forde or Cathal Barrett.

Forde’s absence meant O’Connor took the frees and he put on a clinic, missing just one and capping a fine outing with a point from a sideline cut.

Tipp, leading 0-17 to 0-9 at half-time, had to wait what seemed an eternity for Dublin to come out for the second half and the hosts did respond to manager Micheal Donoghue’s apparent call to arms.

Dublin outscored last season’s semi-finalists by 0-9 to 1-2 in the first 20 minutes of the second-half, Ryan’s 44th minute goal only briefly halting the Dubs’ gallop.

The margin was down to four with 15 minutes remaining, 1-19 to 0-18, but back to back O’Connor points and then a 1-2 blitz from Morris got Tipp going again.

“Obviously next season, with the way the league is going to be restructured, you want to be in that top tier to make sure that you have ample opportunity to prepare yourself properly for the Championship,” said Tipp manager Cahill. “So the carrot is there now, the top three teams qualify and we’re going after that as a minimum.”

Tipperary: R Shelly (0-1, one free); C Morgan (0-1), R Maher, J Ryan; B O’Mara (0-1), R Byrne, C Bowe (0-1); W Connors (0-1), E Connolly (0-2); G O’Connor (0-12, eight frees, one 65, one sideline), J McGrath (0-1), A Tynan (0-1); J Morris (1-4), S Ryan (1-0), A Ormond (0-1).

Subs: M Kehoe for McGrath 52, D Stakelum for Tynan 56, B Heffernan for Connolly 61, J Fogarty (0-1) for Connors 64, P Maher for Ormond 69.

Dublin: E Gibbons; M Grogan, P Smyth, J Bellew; D Power, C Donohoe, D Gray; C Burke (0-2), B Hayes (0-1); J Malone (0-1), R Hayes, S Currie (0-2); C O’Sullivan (0-11, eight frees, 1 sideline), D O Dulaing (0-1), P Crummey (0-1).

Subs: J Madden for Grogan 25, F Whitely (0-3) for R Hayes 34, D Keogh for Malone 44, S Gallagher for Currie 58.

Referee: S Hynes (Galway).

National Hurling League Division 1 Group B: Galway 4-31 Westmeath 0-12

Galway, having beefed up the side which lost the Walsh Cup final to Wexford by making 11 changes, eased their way to a facile victory despite still being without their St Thomas’ contingent for this opening Allianz League Division 1B clash at Pearse Stadium.

An understrength Westmeath side, missing half the side which shocked Wexford in the Championship last year, battled gamely in the opening half against the wind and were still in contention when they trailed by nine points at the break.

But Galway blew them away after the restart and would have won by much more were it not for the heroics of superb Westmeath goalkeeper Noel Conaty who produced at least half a dozen saves.

The Lough Lene Gaels clubman produced four point-blank saves in the opening half, twice denying Declan McLoughlin and also saving from Daithi Burke. And then just before the break he saved a penalty from Jason Flynn after the Tommy Larkins clubman had been fouled.

But Galway did enough in front of a crowd of less than 1,000 to lead by nine at the break, with Evan Niland hitting 0-6, two of them from play.

Seven Galway players found the target in the opening half but they didn’t have it all their own way and Westmeath trailed by just 0-07 to 0-04 at the end of the opening quarter with David Williams shooting three for the midlanders and Niall Mitchell also landing an excellent score.

Conaty’s heroics kept Westmeath in contention to the break despite Galway hitting seven in a row without reply, before Darragh Clinton and Williams struck efforts for Joe Fortune’s side.

Conaty denied interval substitute Jamie Ryan just after the break but two more from Niland and a second from Gavin Lee pushed Galway 0-18 to 0-06 clear before they finally got a goal when Donal O’Shea floated in a high ball and Flynn flicked it to the net.

Both sides started emptying their benches after that with Galway drafting in their only All-Star from last year, Conor Whelan, for his first action of the year as they continued to pull away.

Flynn bore down on goal and had an effort parried but wing back Cianan Fahy had come forward and finished low to the net to make it 2-23 to 0-07 after 55 minutes.

Flynn got his second goal 10 minutes from time after being set up by Whelan as Galway turned the screw.

The rout was completed two minutes from time when Whelan raced in and blasted a trademark shot to the top right corner to get their campaign off to a flying start and they will now turn their attention to their trip to Thurles next weekend after a dozen players found the target in this one.

Galway: D Fahy; J Grealish, TJ Brennan, E Lawless; C Fahy (1-1), P Mannion, D Burke; D O’Shea (0-2), G Lee (0-4); S Linnane, J Flynn (2-2, one free), J Cooney (0-1); E Niland (0-11, six frees, one 65), T Monaghan (0-5), D McLoughlin (0-2). Subs: J Ryan (0-1) for McLoughlin (half-time), R Glennon (0-1) for Linnane (49), D Morrissey (0-1) for Burke (50), C Whelan (1-0) for Cooney (54), I McGlynn for Niland (60), D Loftus for Lawless (63).

Westmeath: N Conaty; C Gaffney, J Bermingham, D Egerton; J Gillen, K Regan, C Boyle; S McGovern, M Daly; O McCabe, D Clinton (0-1), N Mitchell (0-1); D Williams (0-7, six frees), E Keyes, P Clarke. Subs: D O’Reilly (0-2) for Keyes (46), M Cunningham (0-1) for Daly (53), J Boyle for Bermingham (60), O Loughlin for McGovern (66), C Doyle for Clarke (66).

Referee: Sean Stack (Dublin).

  • Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone
  • Find The Irish Times on WhatsApp and stay up to date
  • Our In The News podcast is now published daily – Find the latest episode here