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Dublin claim league semi-final spot at Tipperary’s expense

Tipperary 0-23 Dublin 1-21

Mattie Kenny's Dubin side have booked themselves a Division One league semi-final spot with a richly-deserved victory over Tipperary in Thurles this evening.

The Dubs looked to be in trouble early in the second-half when the Munster side drew level with a stiff breeze at their backs, but they dug in and pulled through by the narrowest of margins in a game in which they were never behind on the scoreboard.

Next up: All-Ireland champions Limerick.

Dublin's record in Thurles had been grim in recent times but they went about rectifying that impressively in the first quarter when, with the aid of that considerable wind, they engineered six-point leads on two occasions.

A sixth-minute goal from Fergal Whitely did most to engineer those advantages but they played intelligent hurling out of defence and their cause wasn't hurt at all by Tipperary whose poor shooting hindered them from the off.

Tipp would finish the half with nine wides and manager Liam Sheedy's displeasure with events in that quarter were clear when he gave John McGrath the shepherd's hook in the dying seconds of the opening period, Patrick Maher taking his place.

Tipp were better in the second quarter but Dublin still did enough to keep them at arm's length, the score standing at 1-10 to 0-9 at the interval, only for a strong Tipperary restart to wipe it out within the next five minutes.

Tipp were handed a further boost with the introduction of Brendan Maher off the bench for the first time since his cruciate injury last summer but it another replacement, Dublin's Cian Boland, who had more impact. His two points in the third quarter helped Dublin weather the Tipp storm.

A quartet of points on the bounce gave the visitors a four-point buffer with only 14 minutes to go but back came Tipperary again. This time it was another sub, Mark Kehoe, with two scores to change the narrative but the hosts just couldn't get their noses in front.

A final tally of 18 wides obviously played its part in that but this shouldn't take away from a superb collective effort by a Dublin side that finished with 14 men after Danny Sutcliffe earned a second yellow in the 73rd minute.

Scorers for Tipperary: J Forde (0-7, 6 frees); N McGrath (0-3, 1 '65' and J Morris (both 0-3); M Kehoe and M Breen (both 0-2): S Callanan (0-2, 1f); R Maher, N O'Meara, B Maher and J McGrath (all 0-1).

Scorers for Dublin: O O'Rorke (0-7, 5 frees); S Moran (0-3, 1 '65'); F Whiteley (1-0); E Dillon (0-3); P Ryan and C Boland (0-2); E O'Donnell, C Crummy, R McBride, J Malone (all 0-1).

Tipperary: P Maher; J O'Dwyer, J Barry, C Barrett; R Maher, P Maher, R Byrne; N McGrath, M Breen; S Callanan, N O'Meara, J McGrath; J O'Dwyer; J Morris, J Forde. Subs: P Maher for J McGrath (35); B Maher for Byrne (47); M Kehoe for O'Dwyer (57); A Flynn for Breen (62); D ,Maher for N McGrath (73).

Dublin: A Nolan; C Crummy, E O'Donnell; P Smyth; D O'Connell, S Moran, D Gray; R McBride, S Treacy; C Conway, D Sutcliffe, J Malone;F Whiteley, O O'Rorke, E Dillon. Subs: C Boland for Malone (29-HT); and for Treacy (HT); J Hetherton for Conway (HT); P Ryan for Whitely (56); R Hayes for Malone (62); D Treacy for O'Rorke (70).

Referee: P Murphy (Carlow).