Tipperary 2-25 Laois 1-18
Reporting by Marisa Kennedy in Croke Park
Tipperary will face Wexford in the All Ireland semi-final in two week’s time after the Premier County overcame Laois in Croke Park this afternoon.
It was a game that never sparked to life yet Laois were highly competitive in the opening period while Tipperary did not lead until Jason Forde buried a penalty in the 11th minute. Liam Sheedy’s men were far more clinical in the second half although Laois, despite being reduced to 14 men, continued to fight until the final whistle through points from Mark Kavanagh.
Read our conclusions from the All Ireland quarter-final below.
Laois Win Middle-Third Battle: For large portions of the first half, Tipperary were out-hurled and dominated in Laois in from their half-back line to their half-forward. Aaron Dunphy and Paddy Purcell found themselves winning numerous balls and like the game last week, they bullied their opponents out of contention for periods.
Tipperary Suffer From Early Complacency? Brendan Maher was adamant during the week that Tipperary could not afford to fall into the same trap as Dublin by underestimating their opponents but that seemed to be the case in the opening 10 minutes of the game. The Premier County were attempting shots on goal instead of taking their points and were trying to force passes that they would not have done against a bigger opponent.
Kavanagh Punishes Tipp Ill-Discipline: Mark Kavanagh opened Laois’ tally within a minute with a well taken free and he went on to score five throughout the first half. Eddie Brennan’s men were probably over-reliant on the Rathdowney man, especially in the second half. Tipperary endured a lack of discipline all over the field, frustrated by Laois’ hounding tactics and also their own unforced errors. It is an aspect of Tipperary’s game that has haunted them all year and it could cost them later in the season.
Laois Sweeper System: As against Dublin, Laois deployed John Lennon in the sweeper role to try and curb the lethal Tipperary defence and for the opening period of the game, it worked beautifully with Lennon also delivering advantageous ball into his forward line. However, with Alan Flynn consistently moving forward and Callanan and Forde dropping back, Tipperary soon came to grips with the sweeper.
Callanan Consistently Delivers: Tipperary captain, Seamus Callanan, has been the side’s most consistent performer throughout this championship, scoring a goal in every game so far. Noel McGrath will get deserved credit for Callanan’s goal today for his delivery but the touch and finish from the Tipperary captain were sublime. On numerous occasions, he tracked back to win possession, dispossessing Joe Phelan on the Tipperary half-back line. Front runner for Hurler of the Year?
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Soft Red Rocks Laois: Aaron Dunphy saw a straight red for a pull across Padraic Maher and on initial viewing, it appeared to be a very harsh call on the Laois sharpshooter. However, there was no denying that Laois’ performance became more prickly and it was no surprise that Jason Forde finished the day on 1-12 with only two points from play. With the extra man, Tipperary created much more space for themselves and found their scores with ease. They too were reduced to 14 men when substitute Michael Breen received two yellow cards but it was too late in the game to have any major impact.
Subdued Atmosphere: Colm Lyons was the busiest man on the pitch this afternoon and so it was no surprise that the game failed to spark into life with the stop-start nature of it. Despite the sizeable Laois following, the crowd were given little to cheer about after Ross King’s goal. The game turned into nothing more than target practice by the end and you could hear the players roaring instructions at each other – never a good sign.