Tipp still in the championship, just, after Waterford humbling

GAA: Munster Senior Hurling Championship Round 5



Report: Shane Brophy at FBD Semple Stadium


Player of the Match: Stephen Bennett (Waterford)

SCORERS – Tipperary: Noel McGrath 0-7 (4 frees, 3 65s); Gearoid O’Connor 0-4 (3 frees), Seamus Callanan 0-3; Ronan Maher 0-2 (1 free); Eoghan Connolly, Mark Kehoe, Brian McGrath, Conor Bowe, Alan Tynan 0-1 each.

Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-9 (7 frees); Dessie Hutchinson 1-3; Jack Fagan, Patrick Fitzgerald 0-3 each; Neil Montgomery 0-2; Billy Nolan, Calum Lyons, Patrick Curran, Peter Hogan 0-1 each.

Tipperary remain alive in the Senior Hurling Championship but only by the skin of their teeth after suffering a six-point defeat to a rejuvenated Waterford on Sunday.

With Limerick edging to victory over Cork in the other game played at the same time, the All-Ireland champions progress to the Munster Final against Clare while Tipperary finished in third place, just, as a draw in Limerick would have seen the Premier County exit on the score difference.

This was a very poor Tipperary performance, lacking the energy from that shown in the draw with Limerick seven days previous but manager Liam Cahill wasn’t offering that as an excuse. Tipp did start without the injured Cathal Barrett and Jake Morris with Brian McGrath and Seamus Callanan coming into the starting line-up, with Tipp’s injury crisis deepening with McGrath and Gearoid O’Connor forced off in the game.

From the off, Tipp were playing second fiddle with Waterford’s Jack Fagan breaking forward to point from play after twenty seconds, signalling a statement of intent. Tipp fell 0-7 to 0-1 adrift by the time Seamus Callanan managed the home sides first score from play on thirteen minutes.

Waterford’s pace and elusiveness were so much that Tipp struggled to lay a glove on them with man of the match Stephen Bennett and Dessie Hutchinson extending the lead to seven. Tipp never threatened to get up a head of steam in the first half and were fortunate to trail by just nine at half time, 0-17 to 0-8.

Liam Cahill didn’t make any changes at half time as the starters were told to dig themselves out of the whole and for the first fifteen minutes of the second half, they lifted the performance and cut the deficit to five points by the 46th minutes, with Mark Kehoe and Conor Bowe landing notable points from play while Bowe also brought a five save out of Shaun O’Brien.

However, Waterford weathered the storm and on 52nd minutes they scored the decisive goal with Dessie Hutchinson pilfering a ball Tipp goalie Rhys Shelly was in control of and found the net.

At this stage, the game looked gone from Tipp, but the final margin remained important if Limerick v Cork ended in a draw as a five point defeat would have been enough in that scenario. Tipp managed to get to six on a number of occasions, but they chased a goal with John McGrath denied by O’Brien in added time.

The final whistle led to a short waiting period as the Limerick v Cork game had yet to finish and in the end Tipperary stay in the championship by the skin of their teeth and have a lot to reflect on over the next three weeks before they face a trip to Tullamore to face MacDonagh Cup runners-up Offaly in the All-Ireland Preliminary quarter final, with the winner progressing to a quarter final against the loser of the Leinster Final between Kilkenny and Galway a week later.

TEAMS – Tipperary: Rhys Shelly; Bryan O’Mara, Michael Breen, Ronan Maher; Brian McGrath, Eoghan Connolly, Seamus Kennedy; Conor Stakelum, Dan McCormack; Alan Tynan, Noel McGrath, Gearoid O’Connor; Patrick Maher, Seamus Callanan, Mark Kehoe.

Subs: Conor Bowe for O’Connor (25 inj); Johnny Ryan for B McGrath (concussion 44-50, 53); Sean Ryan for Stakelum (54); John McGrath for P Maher (60); Joe Fogarty for Kehoe (67).

Waterford: Shaun O’Brien; Billy Nolan, Iarlaith Daly, Mark Fitzgerald, Conor Gleeson; Calum Lyons, Darragh Lyons, Jack Fagan; Paddy Leavey, Jack Prendergast; Neil Montgomery, Stephen Bennett, Peter Hogan; Dessie Hutchinson, Patrick Fitzgerald.

Subs: Patrick Curran for Hutchinson (blood 8-10); Conor Ryan for Gleeson (blood 27-30); Patrick Curran for Montgomery (55); Kevin Mahony for Hogan (61); Colin Dunford for Prendergast (61); DJ Foran for P Fitzgerald (65 ); Conor Ryan for Gleeson (70+4).

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)