Munster MHC S-Final – Tipperary 2-25 Waterford 0-12

Power-packed Tipp end Déise dreams

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

A facile win for Tipperary in this Munster MHC semi-final in Semple Stadium last night, a resounding win over a Waterford team that had been beaten in the last two Munster finals and were this year fancied in some quarters to go all the way. In front of 3,126 spectators, Tipp got off to a flying start and led by six points just 10 minutes (1-4 to 0-1), late call-up Sean Ryan with the goal after great setup work by midfielder and captain Bill Maher.

Everywhere Tipp were dominant, full-back Michael Breen in magnificent form, Thomas Hamill outside him also dominant, with Ronan Maher and Dylan Fitzelle in control down the right flank, Jack Peters and Barry Heffernan similarly in charge down the left. In midfield, Maher and the flying Tadhg Gallagher ruled the roost, while in attack, they were a scoring threat in every position bar one, centre-forward Jack Shelly doing a Bonner Maher impression and doing the donkey work for all those around him. It was looking bad for Waterford as the first half progressed. It would have been a lot worse but for two brave body-blocks within a minute by keeper Sean Barry from first Sean Ryan (18th minute) then full-forward Mark McCarthy. Waterford then slowly began to work themselves into the game.

Tactically they had withdrawn an attacker, wing-forward Micheal Harney dropping back in front of the half-back line, thus cutting down the danger presented by the Tipp raiders from midfield, and in the final 10 minutes of the half it began to pay dividends, three points on the trot (two from the talented Stephen Bennett, one from sweet-striking Austin Gleeson), in reply to a lovely point from John McGrath, had the deficit back to a very manageable four at the break, 1-8 to 0-7.

There was even reason for the Déise supporters to believe that this could yet be their evening. It wasn’t to be. Within a minute Tipperary had extended their advantage to five points, a McCarthy free; within another minute that lead had become 1-5, a brilliant team goal that began with a Hamill clearance, caught by Shelly who fed McGrath, gave to overlapping Gallagher, who fired a net-buster from close range that gave Sean Barry no chance. By the 36th minute, Waterford were facing a mountain, 2-12 to 0-7 behind, by the 37th minute it had become an Everest, 2-18 to 0-9. A landslide, that was the second half, Waterford buried under a succession of Tipperary scores, one better than the next. 1-17 Tipperary scored in that 30-minute second half, to just 0-5 for Waterford. !

Scorers for Tipperary: S Ryan 1-3; M McCarthy 0-6 (4f); T Gallagher 1-2; J McGrath 0-5 (1 65); S Cahill 0-4; S O’Brien 0-3; B Maher, C Lanigan, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-5 (2f); A Gleeson 0-3 (3f); B Phelan 0-2 (1 s/l); Shane Bennett, T Devine, 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: P Maher; R Maher, M Breen, J Peters; D Fitzelle, T Hamill, B Heffernan; B Maher (c), T Gallagher; J McGrath, J Shelly, S O’Brien; S Cahill, M McCarthy, S Ryan.
Subs: T Kirwan (Gallagher 56); C Lanigan (McCarthy 56); J Loughnane (Fitzelle 58); S Nally (Maher 60); T Fox (McGrath 60+1).

WATERFORD: S Barry; Shane Bennett, T Bourke, K Bennett; D O’Brien, S McNulty, K Power; T Devine, C Dunford; A Gleeson, Stephen Bennett, M Harney; DJ Foran, B Phelan, D Flynn.
Subs: J Roche (Power 36); R Donnelly (Flynn 40); M Kearney (Gleeson 51); J Walshe (Dunford 51); C Sheehan (O’Brien 54).

Referee: S Hourigan (Limerick)

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