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  • GAA

Defensive lapses remain Tipp's Achilles heel

Wednesday, 20th February, 2019 1:35pm

Story by Shane Brophy
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Defensive lapses remain Tipp's Achilles heel

Niall O'Meara was Tipperary's leading performer against Wexford

Defensive lapses remain Tipp's Achilles heel

Niall O'Meara was Tipperary's leading performer against Wexford

Tipperary's first trip to Wexford in over fifteen years saw them leave empty-handed on Sunday as the home side snatched victory with almost the last puck of the game.

Holding out for a point was the least Tipperary would have deserved having played over half the game with fourteen men following the dismissal of Noel McGrath late in the first half for two bookable offenses.

At the time, the sending off appeared legitimate but on second viewing McGrath's challenge caught Diarmuid O'Keeffe on the shoulder rather than around the head and was a harsh call on the Tipperary vice-captain.

It meant Tipperary would have to negotiate a tricky scenario, already struggling to break down Wexford's structure as it was, despite having the strong elements at their backs.

However, it was something manager Liam Sheedy would have welcomed seeing how his players would respond and despite the late nature of the defeat, he would have been pleased with how they responded in adversity.

There are times when a manager is looking to bed a team together where there is a game that you can begin to see evidence of what he is looking to achieve, and in terms of the base element of workrate, Liam Sheedy and his management will have been pleased with what he saw, particularly of the forwards who swarmed Wexford when the opportunity arrived.

Particularly when down to fourteen men, Tipperary upped a gear either side of half time as they outscored the home side seven points to one, despite the numerical disadvantage. It was a glimpse of the potential within this side that when they put it together, they can be devastating but the trick now is to get them to produce more of it for longer with Niall O'Meara, Seamus Callanan and Robert Byrne landing well worked scores from ball was the moved quickly.

However, there will be an element of frustration that despite the numerical disadvantage that, once again, Tipperary struggled to impose themselves on games and are easily knocked from their rhythm. It has been a theme, even in the All Ireland winning years, that Tipperary tend to go for lengthy periods without scoring as opponents, struggling not only to win possession, but also getting clean quality ball into the forwards in space.


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