Tipperary v Waterford match reports

All action Tipp in mood for final atonement
Tipperary 3-19 Waterford 1-18
By Diarmuid O’Flynn

Monday, August 16, 2010

AFTER this, a far more comprehensive All-Ireland semi-final win than the scoreline would suggest, it can be said with certainty – Tipperary are back.

Back in another All-Ireland final and back to the kind of form they showed in almost toppling Kilkenny in last year’s decider.

Seems like a long time ago now that this same Tipperary team were suffering something of a crisis against Cork down in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the first round of the Munster championship.

Yet it was only a few months ago, May 30 to be exact, when they crashed to a 10-point defeat.

After that defeat we were left wondering which was the aberration, that startlingly poor performance, or the heights of last September? Well, now we know. In Tipperary’s subsequent All-Ireland qualifier wins over first Wexford, then Offaly, there were hints; then came the All-Ireland quarter-final and a late, late win over Galway, a victory chiselled from adversity, coming from two points behind in the final minutes to win by one. That win showed character, showed steely determination, vital ingredients in any ambitious side. This one though showed class, real class, a comprehensive beating of a Waterford team that all season had set out its stall to defend, to keep the score down and then count on the likes of their two marquee forwards, John Mullane and free-taker Eoin Kelly, to do just enough for them to win.

Mullane was superb again yesterday, scored three points from play and was fouled for three more, and Eoin contributed five points from placed balls but was well held otherwise by the tenacious Declan Fanning. With no-one else really featuring, however, against an on-fire Tipperary defence in which Paul Curran and Conor O’Mahony were superb, a dominant midfield of Brendan Maher and Shane McGrath, and a sizzling attack that was firing on all cylinders, that wasn’t even nearly enough.

A start-to-finish and front-to-back team performance, everyone contributing, this was a rallying cry for Tipperary, a real return to form.

The first quarter was a battle, the kind of dogfight Waterford wanted, the kind of dogfight they had thrived on in winning Munster, and after 17 minutes they were level, 0-5 apiece.

Already, however, the signs were there. Young Noel McGrath (hard to believe he’s still only 19) was having a field day at centre-forward for Tipp on Waterford’s outstanding defender Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, while John O’Brien – whose selection had caught many by surprise – was causing huge problems in the corner.

All over the field there was a purpose about Tipperary’s play, and Waterford were struggling to contain the Premier men’s pace and power. When the first Tipperary goal did come, however, it was a simple affair. Another huge ball from the Tipperary half-back line by the unchallenged Padraic Maher was plucked from over the head of Waterford full-back Liam Lawlor by Lar Corbett – Clinton Hennessey was given no chance.

That strike put Tipperary five points ahead by the 23rd minute, and though Waterford fought back again, a flurry of points before the break (O’Brien, McGrath and Tipp free-taker Eoin Kelly) saw Tipp, the odds-on favourites, ahead at the break by six (1-11 to 0-8).

Waterford were in trouble and a good start to the second half was needed by the Munster champions. It came too with points from Kelly (two frees), a long-range free by Tony Browne, and a super score by Mullane bringing them back to within a goal of Tipp in the 46th minute (1-12 to 0-12).

That was their last hurrah though as points from Noel McGrath (took over the long-range frees from Eoin Kelly) and Lar before the second Tipperary goal. Battling a back injury for the last week, Eoin Kelly was now in another battle, with all the various members of the Waterford inside defence but with Noel Connors particularly. But then a moment of genius. A clever touch on a long McGrath sideline ball, a quick pounce on the break, a first-time ground shot, and Eoin had his first goal to propel Tipperary into an eight-point lead (2-14 to 0-12).

That was the end of it. Oh, there was a third Tipperary goal, Eoin Kelly again, put clear in the 60th minute by the pace and pass of Lar Corbett for an open shot, but the game was already decided.

As they had done on a few successful occasions this season Waterford brought on the cavalry, five of their starting forwards replaced, Big Dan Shanahan and the McGrath brothers, Ken and Eoin, coming in for the final 20 minutes. All too late, even if Ken (3 points) and Eoin (a goal) McGrath did suggest that they had much more to offer.

Overall, a complete team performance for Tipperary in a complete win, and it throws up the prospect of another hotly contested All-Ireland final.

Would anyone have seen that at the end of last May, however? So much can change in less than three months.

Tipperary: Brendan Cummins; Paddy Stapleton, Paul Curran, Michael Cahill; Declan Fanning, Conor OMahony, Padraic Maher; Brendan Maher, Shane McGrath (0-1); Gearóid Ryan, Patrick Maher, John O’Brien (0-6); Noel McGrath (0-5), Eoin Kelly (2-5), Lar Corbett (1-2).

Subs: Seamus Callanan, Pa Bourke.

Waterford: Clinton Hennessy; Eoin Murphy, Liam Lawlor, Noel Connors; Tony Browne (0-3), Michael Walsh, Declan Prendergast; Shane O’Sullivan, Richie Foley (0-1); Kevin Moran (0-1), Stephen Molumphy (0-1), Eoin Kelly (0-5); John Mullane (0-3), Shane Walsh, Brian O’Halloran.

Subs: Seamus Prendergast (0-1), Ken McGrath (0-3), Tommy Ryan, Eoin McGrath (1-0).

Referee: J Sexton (Cork).

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, August 16, 2010

Read more: http://www.examiner.ie/sport/all-action-tipp-in-mood-for-final-atonement-127947.html#ixzz0wlymPrWH  

From www.rte.ie

Tipperary set up a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland Hurling final with a comfortable seven-point win over Waterford in Croke Park.

The scene is now set for another meeting between Liam Sheedy’s in-form side and a Kilkenny outfit gunning for a fifth successive title.

Eoin Kelly smashed in two second-half goals to add to Lar Corbett’s three-pointer, and Waterford, who were always chasing the game, never looked like overhauling their Munster rivals.

Now speculation will turn to the future of Waterford’s more experienced players, such as Tony Browne, and whether they will have the appetite to give it another go in 2011.

For Tipp, however, there’s the anticipation, and a few weeks of intense preparation for a game they firmly believe they can win.

In front of a Croke Park crowd of 49,754, there was nothing to separate the sides throughout an opening quarter which saw them level on five occasions.

Noel McGrath, John O’Brien and Eoin Kelly all hit the target for Tipp, with Richie Foley Eoin Kelly, Kevin Moran and John Mullane, with two splendid efforts, responding for the Decies.

But with Shane McGrath getting through an immense amount of work at midfield, Tipperary began to gain an edge.

McGrath steered over an inspirational long range point, and in the 23rd minute, they struck for a goal.

Pauric Maher’s searching delivery arrived in the danger area, where Lar Corbett beat Liam Lawlor to possession and directed a close range shot past Clinton Hennessy.

Davy Fitzgerald’s gamble, having handed a first championship start to teenager Brian O’Halloran, failed to play off, and he was forced to withdraw the youngster after 21 minutes with Tipp full-back Paul Curran having imposed himself on the personal duel.

And Liam Sheedy’s men finished the half strongly, with Noel McGrath bringing his tally to four.

They led by 1-11 to 0-08 at the break, all but a point of their first half total having come from play.

Mullane drifted deeper to win possession, and steered over a long range point to add to those scored soon after the restart by Tony Browne and Eoin Kelly, both from frees.

Kelly’s fifth free narrowed the gap to three after his Tipp namesake had failed to find the target from a straightforward free.

And with Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh driving on from centre back, Waterford looked a more potent force.

But their revival was cut short in the 53rd minute when Kelly showed his predatory instincts to smash home a game with the Decies defence failed to clear McGrath’s sideline cut.

Tipp now led by eight, and turned the screw to punish a flagging Waterford defence with a third goal on the hour.

It was the intuitive Corbett who slipped the ball inside for Kelly to beat Hennessy with a crisply struck finish, and it was all over for Waterford.

Veterans Ken McGrath and Mullane refused to admit defeat, and the latter brought a wonderful save from Brendan Cummins

Substitute Eoin McGrath hit a consolation goal in the dying moments, but O’Brien set the seal on an impressive Tipp win with his sixth point from play.

Tipperary: B Cummins, P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill, D Fanning, C O’Mahony, Pauric Maher, B Maher, S McGrath (0-01), G Ryan, Patrick Maher, J O’Brien (0-06), N McGrath (0-06, 1 ’65), E Kelly (2-04, 0-03f), L Corbett (1-02).
Subs; S Callanan for Ryan, P Bourke for Patrick Maher

Waterford: C Hennessy, E Murphy, L Lawlor, N Connors, T Browne (0-03, 0-02f, 0-01 ’65), M Walsh, D Prendergast, S O’Sullivan, R Foley (0-01), K Moran (0-01), S Molumphy (0-01), E Kelly (0-05, 5f), J Mullane (0-03), S Walsh, B O’Halloran.

Subs: S Prendergast (0-01) for O’Halloran, K McGrath (0-03, 1f) for Kelly, D Shanahan for Moran, T Ryan for Molumphy, E McGrath (1-00) for S Walsh

Referee: J Sexton (Cork)

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