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Goals the order of the day as Carlow finally enjoy a fruitful trip to Tipp

It hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Carlow in the past but they got their NFL campaign off to a fine start this time out.

Shane Brophy
January 28, 2024

Tipperary 1-14

Carlow 3-10


Player of the Match: Mikey Bambrick (Carlow)

SCORERS – Tipperary: Sean O’Connor 0-9 (6 frees); Paddy Creedon 1-1; Jack Kennedy 0-2 frees; Shane Neville, Riain Quigley 0-1 each.

Carlow: Darragh Foley 1-4 (0-3 frees); Conor Crowley 1-1; Aaron Amond 1-0; Ross Dunphy 0-2; Colm Hulton, Jamie Clarke, John Phiri 0-1 each.

Shane Brophy reports from Semple Stadium

Carlow made the perfect start to Division 4 of the National Football League as they produced a stirring performance to get the better of home side Tipperary in Thurles on Saturday night.

This was despite playing that last 28 minutes of game-time with fourteen men after Colm Hulton was sent off for a second bookable offence at a time when the sides were level and Tipperary had all the momentum.

However, Niall Carew’s charges dug in and a scoring burst of 1-2 proved to be sufficient to earn a rare win at Semple Stadium.

The home side are very much in transition under new manager Paul Kelly with just four players lining out that featured in the 2020 Munster final campaign, with five players making their first league starts, including goalkeeper Jack Rodgers who was a late replacement for Evan Comerford.

However, it was the visitors who made the brighter start with Ross Dunphy and Darragh Foley getting the first two points from play with Carlow beginning as they would all game, attacking with intensity but patient until the right opening presented itself in front of goal, registering just five wides, and their greater efficiency was the different in the end between two evenly matches sides in what was a very entertaining game with both sides keen to put pace on the ball when they attacked.

Sean O’Connor opened Tipp’s account with a ninth minute free but Carlow were putting a lot of pace on the ball and points from Jamie Clarke and Foley (free) had them three ahead before Tipp levelled with a Paddy Creedon goal on twelve minutes after the visitors press on the Tipp kick-out came against them with goalkeeper Johnny Furey caught out of position when the ball came to Riain Quigley and with a man short in defence, the ball was worked through O’Connor and onto Creedon for the finish.

However, the visitors responded well with a goal of their own three minutes later through Conor Crowley, who reacted quickest to a rebound off the post but the Tipp defence was lax in allowing him in from the end-line.

Debutante Shane Neville fisted a point for Tipp when a goal chance was on before Foley extended the Carlow lead. The home sides' defence was porous with goalkeeper Jack Rodgers forced to save from Paddy McDonnell, but he could do nothing as Darragh Foley fisted a Ross Dunphy pass to the net on 24 minutes for a 2-5 to 1-3 lead.

Points from Tipp’s Riain Quigley, Sean O’Connor and Paddy Creedon to scores from Colm Hulton and Conor Crowley gave Carlow a 2-7 to 1-6 lead at half time.

Tipp upped the intensity at the start of the second half, pushing up on the Carlow kick-out which yielded dividends as they forced the visitors into turnovers in their own half, and landed the first four points, all from Sean O’Connor, including two from play to draw level on 47 minutes.

The sides traded the next two scores, frees from Darragh Foley plus a Sean O’Connor free for Tipp after Carlow’s Colm Hulton was sent off for a second bookable offence in a five minute spell.

With Carlow also losing goalkeeper Johnny Furey to injury, Tipp had all the momentum with them at that stage but missed a couple of chances to get their noses in front.

Carlow weren’t as lax at the other end as Ross Dunphy and sub John Phiri nudged them back in front before a superb turnover by Mikey Bambrick was followed up by a brilliantly weighted pass to fellow half-back Aaron Amond who scored a breakaway goal on 63 minutes and the visitors where five points in front once more.

Carlow rarely ventured into the Tipp half thereafter, happy to defend the lead they had, but Tipp had openings with Steven O’Brien having a goal chance blocked while Sean O’Connor lost control of the ball in a promising goal-scoring position.

Tipp did land three late points from Sean O’Connor (2) and Jack Kennedy in the six minutes of added time, with goalkeeper Jack Rodgers having a chance for a dramatic winning goal with the final play of the game but his shot was blocked as Carlow held out for victory.

Tipperary: Jack Rodgers; Shane O’Connell, Jimmy Feehan, Emmet Moloney; James Morris, Stephen Grogan, Kieran Costello; Steven O’Brien, Paudie Feehan; Stephen Quirke, Jack Kennedy, Shane Neville; Riain Quigley, Paddy Creedon, Sean O’Connor.

Subs: Conor Cadell for P Feehan (31); Cathal Deely for Quirke (31); Luke Shanahan for Quigley (48); Teddy Doyle for Creedon (60); Kyle Shelly for O’Brien (70).

Carlow: Johnny Furey; Collie Byrne, Mark Furey, Jamie Clarke; Mikey Bambrick, Josh Moore, Aaron Amond; Niall Hickey, Conor Doyle; Colm Hulton, Jordan Morrissey, Ross Dunphy; Paddy McDonnell, Darragh Foley, Conor Crowley.

Subs: Dara Curran for Moore (35+1); Ciaran Cunningham for J Furey (51); John Phiri for M Furey (54); Shane Clarke for Hickey (56); Cormac Lomax for Byrne (65).

Referee: Niall Quinn (Clare)