Tipperary 1-20 Waterford 1-11
Tipperary took the honours in this NHL 1A clash at a bitterly cold Semple Stadium, writes Michael Moynihan.
A crowd of 6,363 saw Waterford attack the Town End in the first half with the wind behind them, 2016 Hurler of the Year Austin Gleeson playing as an orthodox centre-back.
Jason Forde helped Tipp to a 0-3 to 0-1 lead on ten minutes while Waterford struck four wides in a row before finding their range, Patrick Curran’s third free levelling matters at the end of the first quarter, 0-4 each.
Mikey Kearney nudged Waterford two ahead as Tipperary then hit a string of six wides before Forde (frees) made it 0-6 each on 30 minutes.
Kearney, Ian Kenny and Gleeson points put Waterford three up before Forde (free) cut the lead to two; Brian O’Halloran replied for Waterford but there was still time for Sean Curran and Forde to leave it 0-10 to 0-9 at the half.
Stephen O’Keeffe had to save well from Paudie Feehan on the resumption: Forde pointed the 65 to level the game. The McGrath brothers added points and another Forde free meant Tipp were three up on 45 minutes.
Cue Mark O’Brien’s fine goal, the Waterford man cutting in to shoot from a tight angle on 48 minutes; Tipp then swept upfield and Michael Breen won a penalty.
Forde made no mistake and a Curran point made the score 1-14 to 1-10 going into the final quarter, and O’Keeffe needed to save smartly from Forde to keep Waterford in it.
Tipp were on top now and using the wind well, pushing six up by the 60th minute. By the end they were nine ahead, a couple of fine Ronan Maher strikes the highlight of the closing stages, while Waterford had two scores - O’Brien’s goal and a Jamie Barron point - in the entire second half.
Scorers for Tipperary: J. Forde (1-8)(1-0 pen, 4 frees, 1 65); R. Maher (1 sideline)(0-4); N. McGrath (1 sideline), S. Curran (0-2 each)(1 sideline); M. Breen, J. McGrath, S. Curran, B. Maher (0-1 each).
Scorers for Waterford: P. Curran (0-3)(frees), M. O’Brien (1-0); M. Kearney (0-3); B. O’Halloran, DJ Foran, I. Kenny, A. Gleeson, J. Barron (0-1 each).
WATERFORD: S. O’Keeffe, S. Fives, B. Coughlan, I. Kenny, M. O’Brien, A. Gleeson, K. Bennett, S. Roche, M. Kearney, K. Moran, C. Dunford, B. O’Halloran, S. Bennett, DJ Foran, P. Curran.
Subs: P. Hogan for Roche (19); S. McNulty for Gleeson (inj, 49); J. Barron for O’Brien (52); P. Mahony for Dunford (57); M. Walsh for Bennett (60).
TIPPERARY: P. Maher, A. Flynn, T. Hamill, S. O’Brien, J. O’Dwyer, Paraic Maher (c), P. Feehan, R. Maher, B. Maher, D. McCormack, N. McGrath, S. Curran, M. Breen, J. Forde, J. McGrath.
Subs: P. Shanahan for McCormack (inj, 5); J. Barry for O’Dwyer (inj, 10); Patrick Maher for Shanahan (57); C. Darcy for Curran (68).
Referee: C. Lyons (Cork).