Tipperary's Billy Seymour battles with Westmeath's Kevin Regan for possession. PHOTO: BRIDGET DELANEY

Tipp get the better of Westmeath

Tipperary made it three wins from three in the National Hurling League after getting the better of a spirited Westmeath side on Saturday.

GAA: Allianz National Hurling League Division 1B Round 3

Tipperary 3-25

Westmeath 2-21

Report: Shane Brophy at FBD Semple Stadium


Player of the Match: David Williams (Westmeath)

SCORERS- Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-12 (11 frees); Mark Kehoe 2-1; Conor Stakelum 0-6; Noel McGrath 0-3; Noel Conaty 1-0 og; Cathal Quinn, Sean Hayes, John Campion 0-1 each.

Westmeath: David Williams 2-12 (0-7 frees, 0-2 65s); David O’Reilly, Killian Doyle (1 free) 0-2 each; Tommy Doyle, Peter Clarke, Ciaran Doyle, Joseph Boyle, Niall Mitchell 0-1 each.

Manager Liam Cahill made fourteen changes from the round 2 win over Galway with Seamus Kennedy the only survivor, while four players made their first senior league starts in corner back David Kennedy, Cathal Quinn at midfield and Kiladangan duo Sean Hayes and Billy Seymour in attack.

There were also first appearances of the season for the experienced Dan McCormack, Noel McGrath, and Jason Forde and the latter two wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard with Tipp on the front foot from the off with Mark Kehoe also on target as the home side were four points to the good by the time Westmeath got off the mark through a David William’s free on thirteen minutes.

By that stage an already frustrated Westmeath manager Joe Fortune was yellow carded, but his side were showing more and by the 23rd minute they trailed by just one, 0-7 to 0-6, with David Williams punishing all Tipp indiscretions.

After a sloppy period, Tipp got back on the front foot again with two more points from Forde, six in the half, Noel McGrath before the game burst into life with two goals from Mark Kehoe in the 27th & 28th minutes, the first played in by Andrew Ormond, and the second finishing off a flowing move started by Noel McGrath.

Cathal Quinn, Sean Hayes, and Conor Stakelum also got on the scoresheet as Tipp led 2-12 to 0-10 at half time.

Veteran Patrick Maher was sent into the fray at half time and immediately made an impact with two assists and won a free as Tipp went fourteen points clear by the 50th minute but Westmeath’s heads didn’t drop and a David Williams goal three minutes later gave them a boost.

A minute later, he was standing over a penalty after Niall Mitchell was fouled by Barry Heffernan, but Rhys Shelly stood big to turn the shot around the post for a 65 which Williams converted as part of a 2-12 haul in the game.

Conor Stakelum was Tipp’s leading performer with six points from play as sub John Campion also got on the scoresheet as the lead was at ten on 69 minutes when Williams scored his second goal, again aided by the physical presence of Niall Mitchell.

Points from sub Killian Doyle and Williams had the visitors back within four in added time but any hope of a shock result evaporated when Westmeath goalie was pressurised into flicking an attempted pass into his own net for a rare own goal.

Tipp’s next game is away to All-Ireland champions Limerick on Saturday, 9th March.

TEAMS – Tipperary: Rhys Shelly (Moycarkey/Borris); Johnny Ryan (Arravale Rovers), Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Eire Og), David Kelly (Ballina); Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh), Brian McGrath (Loughmore/Castleiney), Seamus Kennedy (St Mary’s); Noel McGrath (Loughmore/Castleiney), Cathal Quinn (Cashel King Cormacs); Sean Hayes (Kiladangan), Jason Forde (Silvermines), Conor Stakelum (Thurles Sarsfields); Andrew Ormond (JK Brackens), Billy Seymour (Kiladangan), Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan/Kilcash).

Subs: Patrick Maher (Lorrha) for Kehoe (HT); Joe Fogarty (Moneygall) for Seymour (54); Cian O’Dwyer (Clonakenny) for Ormond (54); John Campion (Drom & Inch) for Quinn (60); Enda Heffernan (Clonoulty/Rossmore) for Heffernan (64).

Westmeath: Noel Conaty; Conor Gaffney, Johnny Bermingham, Kevin Regan; Jack Gillen, Darragh Egerton, Tommy Doyle; Shane McGovern, Peter Clarke; Joseph Boyle, Niall Mitchell, David Williams; Darragh Clinton, Owen McCabe, Eoin Keyes.

Subs: David O’Reilly for Clinton (HT); Ciaran Doyle for Keyes (HT); Aaron Craig for Gillen (48); Robbie Greville for McGovern (48); Killian Doyle for McCabe (58).

Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny).