Eoin Kelly: Semi-final comeback 'one of the greatest Tipperary performances of all time'

Eoin Kelly: Semi-final comeback 'one of the greatest Tipperary performances of all time'

Eoin Kelly has lauded his county's All-Ireland semi-final victory over Wexford as "one of the greatest Tipperary performances of all time".

Kelly, who is part of Liam Sheedy's backroom team, said Tipperary's refusal to resort to hitting long balls and chasing goals, as Kilkenny did in their Leinster final loss to Wexford, was the key as they confronted disappointing refereeing decisions, being reduced to 14 men, and Wexford's best efforts.

"They matched the warrior spirit with calm hurling and that was evident with Brian Hogan’s free that Jake Morris latched onto for the point to seal it," said Kelly in his Paddy Power News column.

"He got advice from Liam Sheedy to stick it in the corner and it worked out.

"Morris was one of a few Tipperary subs that came on to make massive contributions and maybe that wasn’t the case in previous games.

"The bench contributed four points and Tipperary won by two, so that was a huge impact from the subs.

"That’s what got Tipp over the line, especially after they had to confront a lot of disappointing refereeing decisions.

"The big key was Tipp didn’t go goal-hunting at five points down, in the way that Kilkenny did when they were behind in the Leinster final.

"Tipperary kept clipping scores and they worked their way back into the game.

"It was one of the greatest Tipperary performances of all time and one of the finest that I’ve ever witnessed in Croke Park."

The appointment of the right referee for the All-Ireland final will be a "huge call" for the GAA, Kelly said, after the officiating controversies following the semi-finals: "We all want to see the game flow".

Kelly felt sorry for Seán Cleere, who pulled back play before three Tipperary goals, when he saw the abuse aimed at him on social media. He said Cleere's native Kilkenny winning on Saturday put him in a "very tough spot" for Sunday's game.

"There should have been a bit more forward planning from the GAA when he was appointed in the first place."

He added: "I’d really like to know what the referee blew for when Michael Breen’s first [goal] was wiped off... looking down from the stand I didn’t see where there was a free.

"You’d really like a quicker decision for John McGrath’s disallowed goal, even if it was correct.

"It took way too long for that decision to come. Maybe a watch that buzzes when the scoring plain is crossed similar to the Premier League when a goal is over the line might be the way to go.

"The whole situation surrounding the cancelling of Jake Morris’ goal was very confusing, to say the least.

"Everyone wants to see the advantage rule used by referees, but that would have been a huge talking point had Tipp lost the game. The goal should have been given."

Kelly also said John McGrath was "lucky" his dismissal wasn't a straight red card, which would've seen him miss the final.

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