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Irish Independent
Irish Independent

Niall Hickey’s crucial strike helps Carlow to shock win over Tipperary

Eoghan Ruth scored two early points for a victorious Carlow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Carlow caused a major shock in the Tailteann Cup when they outfought, outplayed and outscored the Munster champions of two years ago at Netwatch Cullen Park yesterday.

While scores were hard to come by in the opening quarter, the home side edged proceedings but couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard. They shot four wides and missed an open goal with Mikey Bambrick coming from deep.

Instead Tipperary broke clear and when their initial shot was blocked, Martin Kehoe was on hand to shoot home from close range. A Darragh Foley free had Carlow off the mark on 10 minutes and they followed this up with a Eoghan Ruth point from distance.

Tipperary had their moments too with Conor Sweeney, Seán O’Connor (free) and Jack Kennedy all on the mark. In reply, Ross Dunphy added a point while Ruth repeated his earlier effort when finding the Tipperary posts.

Up to half-time a lax Carlow defence allowed Mark Russell through but the midfielder saw his shot come back off the right-hand post. Making good their escape, Carlow poured forward and when a long ball fell nicely for Niall Hickey he slid home from close range, leaving Tipp 1-5 to 1-4 ahead at the break.

With the aid of the breeze in the second half, the visitors were expected to come at the home side, but Carlow took over completely – Conor Doyle taking an outrageous score from way out on the left, injuring himself in the process.

Undaunted, points from Jamie Clarke and Seán Bambrick filled Carlow with confidence but they had to endure an anxious six minutes’ injury-time as Tipperary’s Liam McGrath scored two points from play. A Clarke effort pushed the Carlow lead out to three and even though Conor Sweeney converted a free, the Barrowsiders were not going to be denied.

Scorers – Carlow: N Hickey 1-0; E Ruth, R Dunphy, J Clarke, C Hulton 0-2 each; C Doyle, C Crowley, S Bambrick, D Foley (1f) 0-1 each. Tipperary: M Kehoe 1-0, C Sweeney 0-3 (1f); S O’Connor (2fs), L McGrath 0-2 each; J Kennedy, Shane O’Connell, Seán O’Connell 0-1 each.

Carlow – C Cunningham 7; L Roberts 7, M Bambrick 8, D Curran 7; S Clarke 8, S Bambrick 8, C Doyle 8; N Hickey 8, J Clarke 9; J Moore 7, E Ruth 8, D O’Brien; C Crowley 7, D Foley 8, C Hulton 8. Subs: Ross Dunphy 8 for O’Brien (7), S Buggy 6 for Doyle (47), C Lomax for Moore (67), J McCabe for S Bambrick (69).

Tipperary – M O’Reilly 7; Shane O’Connell 7, J Feehan 6, W Eviston 6; K Fahey 6, C O’Shaughnessy 6, Seán O’Connell 6; C Kennedy 7, M Russell 6; T Doyle 6, J Kennedy 7, M Kehoe 6; M O’Shea 6, C Sweeney 7, S O’Connor 7. Subs: S Quirke 6 for Shane O’Connell (h-t), J Lonergan 6 for Russell (48), L McGrath 7 for Kehoe (48), J Harney 6 for O’Connell (50), S O’Brien for Doyle (61).

Ref – C Reilly (Meath)

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