BY NIALL SHERRY
Gearoid Dunne stars in challenge event
Dillon Quirke Foundation Hurling Challenge
FBD Semple Stadium
The result was nowhere near as important as the cause in FBD Semple Stadium last weekend as Tipperary and Kilkenny locked horns again, this time in aid of the the Dillon Quirke Foundation.
Derek Lyng’s panel ran out comfortable winners in front of more than 4,000 spectators as the Cats went ‘goal crazy’ in the hurling challenge event.
The Dillon Quirke Foundation was established by the Quirke family in memory of Dillon Quirke, the former Tipperary player who died after collapsing during a game with his club Clonoulty-Rossmore last August. The foundation was set up to raise awareness of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) and intends to screen all young GAA and camogie players over 12 years of age.
One of the stars of the show for Kilkenny was young Gearoid Dunne, who took full advantage of his starting berth, finishing the game with an impressive 3-1 as Cats hit an impressive 4-20. While only a challenge game, there’s no doubt that notching a hat-trick of goals won’t have gone unnoticed by his manager.
Both teams fielded much-changed sides from their recent Allianz league encounter when Tipp ran out worthy winners, but for Kilkenny manager Derek Lyng he will no doubt have been pleased with Gearoid Dunne’s return and the contributions of Paddy Mullen, Conor Fogarty and Mossy Keoghan.
One worry for the Noresiders, will be Billy Ryan’s early withdrawal through injury. The Graigue Ballycallan forward was replaced by Conahy’s Tom Phelan who put in a lively performance and finished the day with 0-2.
The Cats had three majors on the board in the opening 22 minutes, all three from Tullaroan players, two from Dunne and one from Mossy Keoghan. By the time Mossy goaled, Kilkenny had already racked up 3-8 to Tipp’s 0-5. The hosts finished the opening period strongly, with Mark Kehoe looking very sharp and notching four points, but Liam Cahill’s men still trailed the Cats by 8 points at the short whistle.
Tipperary strengthened their line-up during the interval, and this showed in the opening period of the second half as they reeled –off five on the bounce to reduce the deficit to just three points after 10 minutes of action. The visitors replied with a scoring burst of their own, hitting 1-4 in just over five minutes. This burst included a third major from The Sash’s Dunne.
The Premier County then raised the effort a little and notched five more points in less than ten minutes, but Kilkenny were comfortably ahead at the long whistle on a scoreline of Tipperary 0-25, Kilkenny 4-20.
Kilkenny Scorers: G Dunne (3-1), M Keoghan (1-3), J Bergin (0-3, 3fs), P Deegan, T Phelan, C Kenny (0-2 each); B Ryan, C Delaney, J Donnelly, D Brennan P Walsh, P Mullen, S Murphy (0-1 each).
Tipperary Scorers: M Kehoe (0-7), S Ryan (0-4,4fs), Jack Ryan (0-3,3fs), K O Kelly (0-3), R Maher (0-2,2fs), C O Dwyer, E Connolly, P Creedon, P Maher, Johnny Ryan, N McGrath (0-1 each).
Kilkenny: E Murphy; C Delaney, P Walsh, D Dunne; C Heary, D Blanchfield, H Lawlor; C Fogarty, P Mullen (Capt.); P Deegan, J Donnelly, B Ryan; J Bergin, M Keoghan, G Dunne.
Subs: T Phelan for B Ryan (10mins) W Walsh for Donnelly, E Shefflin for Heary, R Corcoran for Fogarty, D O Neill for Lawlor, N Brennan for Deegan (all half-time), C Kenny for Bergin (44mins), A Tallis for Murphy (48mins), P Moylan for P Walsh (52mins), S Murphy for Delaney (53mins), P Cody for Keoghan (53mins), Bergin for Mullen (53mins).
Tipperary: B Hogan; C McCarthy, E Heffernan, J Quigley; G Ryan, P Campion, S Neville; J Campion, C O Dwyer; J Fogarty, G Kelly, C O Kelly; P Creedon, M Kehoe, Jack Ryan.
Subs: S Ryan for G Kelly (26mins), E Connolly for Neville (29mins), R Maher for P Campion (h/t), P Maher for Jack Ryan (38mins), S Kennedy for O Dwyer (39mins), D McCormack for J Campion (43mins), N McGrath for Creedon (55mins), S Callanan for K O Kelly (67mins), C Stakelum for McCarthy (69mins).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary)
>> SHERRY SAYS…
A great day for a great cause in FBD Semple Stadium. The Dillon Quirke Foundation was the ultimate winner on a day when these two great counties celebrated the life of a promising young hurler who we lost last year. Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) has claimed far too many lives in recent times and the Quirke family’s foundation will hopefully raise funds to ensure our players get the necessary screening to help prevent these tragic deaths.
For Kilkenny, the performance of young Gearoid Dunne will have been very encouraging. A hat-trick of goals will give the player and his manager plenty to ponder as the National League heats up. Mossy loves a goal and got another. Something in the Tullaroan air obviously.
With a bit of luck, Billy Ryan’s injury won’t be too bad. Tom Phelan did well when introduced and will be pushing hard in the coming weeks.
A little road trip to Laois this weekend as the Allianz League resumes. We need to secure the points and I expect the Cats to provide plenty of problems for Willie Maher’s men. Hopefully we will see some minutes for Gearoid Dunne and possibly Paddy Mullen, who did well in the Dillion Quirke game also.
Congratulations to the Kilkenny lads who secured another Fitzgibbon Cup title for UL recently. Dean Mason, Daragh Corcoran, Shane Staunton, and Ian Byrne all played their part in UL’s victory and for Dean & Darragh, it capped a brilliant start to 2023, following on the back of Shamrocks Ballyhale All-Ireland senior title last month. I’m sure both Shamrocks players will be pushing to make Derek Lyng’s panel over the next couple of years.