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Published: 20:32 | 13/2/16

Tipperary ease past Dublin in NHL opener

Limerick beat Wexford in Division 1B

Tipperary started their National Hurling League Division 1A campaign with an impressive 14-point, 1-23 to 0-12, win over Dublin at Semple Stadium.

The hosts started well and raced into an early lead and they never looked backed as they racked up an impressive tally to start their campaign with a deserved win.

Conor Kenny and Paul Ryan traded early scores, before Tipp took advantage of some bad Dublin shooting to take control as they opened up a five-point lead.

Jason Forde opened his account with a point to put the hosts ahead and he raised a green flag with a brilliant goal minutes later when he burst through the Dubs defence and blasted home.

Conor Kenny then added another point to make it 1-03 to 0-01 after quarter of an hour.

Dotsy O’Callaghan steadied the Dublin forwards with a good score, but it was all too easy for Tipp in attack as they hit back through a free from John McGrath and extended their lead with another fine score from Forde.

The visitors continued to look shaky in-front of goal with Paul Ryan missing a relatively easy free and the home side took advantage to go eight clear with points from Forde and McGrath.

Tipp, who hit ten wides in the opening half an hour, were quicker to every ball and they extended their lead through a welcome score from the returning Noel McGrath.

Dublin began to panic as they went for goals in the final minutes of the half, with Paul Ryan going for goal from with what looked like an easy point, and his effort was duly saved as Tipp went in nine up at the break, 1-09 to 0-03.

The second half started much like the first had finished with Tipp adding scores through a point from Noel McGrath and a free from John McGrath.

Dublin, to their credit, rallied after this as they looked to close the gap with scores from Mark Schutte and Colm Cronin.

Jason Forde, though, was in impressive early season form and he stopped any potential Dublin comeback when he traded passes with Noel McGrath and slotted over to leave the gap at nine.

Niall McMorrow and Pairic Maher traded scores, before Dublin created their first goal chance of the night when Schutte slipped in Eamon Dillon, but his effort was well saved by Darren Gleeson as Dublin’s slim chance of taking anything from the game ebbed away.

The visitors continued to look for a way back into the game and pointed through from David Tracey and Darragh O’Connell but Tipp were simply better on the night.

And they moved further ahead with scores from John McGrath, Forde and Fitzelle to keep the gap at ten with 13 minutes left.

The game was over as a contest as Tipp continued to add to their tally and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer was next to impress as he signalled his introduction from the bench with two fantastic scores from play.

Bubbles was in imperious form and he made it three from play in the space of ten minutes as the Premier County laid down a marker for the season ahead with an impressive 1-23 to 0-12 win.

In Division 1B, Limerick started their promotion charge with a brilliant 2-23 to 0-15 win over Wexford at the Gaelic Grounds.

The hosts were the better side throughout and they never really looked like losing after they opened up an eight-point margin, 0-09 to 0-01 after 18 minutes.

It was more of the same after this as TJ Ryan’s men continued their impressive shooting to go in 12-points up at the break, 0-16 to 0-04.

Wexford, to their credit, started the second half brightly and they reduced the gap to six-points after 48 minutes, but their fightback was ended with 20 minutes remaining when Graeme Mulcahy raised the first green flag of the night.

The home side kept the scoreboard ticking over after this and they wrapped up an impressive win in the final minute when Declan Hannon pounced for the second goal of the game to seal a 2-23 to 0-15 win for the Shannonsiders.

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