Red flags aplenty after second half struggles
By Liam Hogan
Billed as the clash of the two Liam’s, it was Cahill’s Waterford side that won the day with a scintillating second half display which left Tipperary grasping for air as their unbeaten league run came to an abrupt end.
The outcome provided both managers with plenty food for thought. For Liam Sheedy, he will have some restless nights as he searches for answers as to mend a team who were blitzed by Waterford’s speed and style.
And while Deise boss Liam Cahill had to be very pleased with what he saw, he has more worries than his counterpart as the game took a toll in terms of injuries as Austin Gleeson, Shane Fives and Conor Prunty had to leave the field by half time. Cahill has two weeks before his side take on Clare in the Munster quarter final with the winners to take on Tipperary in the semi-final a week later.
Sunday’s defeat was a warning to Liam Sheedy who will wonder how his team, who dominated the second quarter and took a six-point lead, lost the remaining forty-eight minutes by 2-20 to 2-9.
Tipp’s confident approach, following their big win over Westmeath, took a while to manifest itself as both sides shared six points in opening five minutes before Jason Forde breached the Waterford cover to score a well taken goal.
The goal was a positive for Tipp and it reflected on their play as they began picking off some long-range points through Brendan Maher, Alan Flynn, and Ronan Maher. Defensively Tipp were sound as Cathal Barrett, Padraic Maher, Barry Heffernan and Seamus Kennedy coped with whatever Waterford could throw at them. It must be noted that Cathal Barrett took a knock on the hand in the 17th minute, and it curtailed his influence thereafter.
Waterford had their moments and pushed hard with Jack Fagan, Calum Lyons and Peter Hogan causing concern with their solo runs but more often than not the Deise men ran into Cul de sacs as the Tipp defence forced them to lose possession.
On reaching the first water-break Tipp led 1-9 to 0-8 with Stephen Bennett grabbing the majority of the Waterford scores through placed balls. At the other end, the Tipp attack didn’t have it all their own way as Conor Prunty, Iarlaith Daly and Shane Fives contained the Tipp threat with the early prominence of Michael Breen and Jake Morris fading.
Tipp’s efforts improved in terms of well-taken scores from Jason Forde, Ronan Maher and Jake Morris with Tipp taking what seemed a comfortable 1-12 to 0-9 lead approaching the 22nd minute.
Yet Waterford continued to attack from the back and their runs through the middle began to pay off, including two Dessie Hutchinson goals in as many minutes, one better than the other, which had Tipp reeling and two points in arrears.
However, Noel McGrath moved into fire home a good goal and leading 2-13 to 2-12 at the interval must have left Tipp in a positive mood as they returned to the dressing rooms.
Losing Austin Gleeson and Shane Fives in the first half was bad enough and then the news that full back Conor Prunty was replaced at half time, must have given the home supporters a moment of anguish. However, that dissipated very quickly as Waterford upped the tempo and built their play from deep in defence with Peter Hogan, Calum Lyons, Jack Fagan, Kevin Moran popping up everywhere.
The home side missed two gilt-edged goal chances in the 39th & 41st minutes with Ronan Maher producing a superb goal-line clearance as everyone in Walsh Park wondered how sub Michael Kiely missed an open goal.
It was wave after wave of Waterford attacks as off the shoulder moves with the fresh legs from the bench causing untold damage to Tipperary with Kieran Bennett, Billy Power, and Ciaran Kirwan putting their hands up for a place on Liam Cahill’s championship side.
As a result, Tipp were forced to concede a large number of frees with Stephen Bennett punishing them each time with Ballysaggart man scoring 0-15, ten from frees.
Meanwhile at the other end, the Waterford defence had the number on the Tipp attack with Conor Gleeson keeping a close eye on Seamus Callanan. The early threat from Jason Forde and Jake Morris faded with both players replaced.
Noel McGrath did have his moments and Seamus Callanan goaled just before the hour mark, and with John McGrath (just in from the bench) adding a point to leave the minimum between the sides, Tipp looked to have the wind in their sails for a strong finish.
However, Waterford dusted themselves down and responded with four unanswered points with Michael Kiely becoming the twelfth Deise player on the scoresheet, while Jack Prendergast provided one of the scores of the league with a blistering run up the right wing before firing over.
Tipp tried to stay in touch with Noel McGrath pointing and Ronan Maher adding a sixty-five but by then the game was out of Tipp’s reach as all eyes turn to championship and July 4th when it might well be Waterford they are facing again and based on this they are certainly forewarned about what they might face.