Tipperary forwards on top form against Waterford in Munster MFC play-off

Tomás McCarthy

Tipperary 2-11 Waterford 2-6

A five-point margin flattered the home team in the Leamybrien sunshine today as Tipperary were the silkier team on show in this Munster MFC semi-final play-off.

Before a crowd of 540, eight Premier players scored from play including all six forwards. Matt O'Doherty’s side, who controlled the ball for large portions, could afford to shoot fourteen wides on their way to a last-four meeting with Clare at Semple Stadium.

Kyle Shelly and Devon Ryan claimed the Tipp goals in either half but the away team created four further chances for green flags. Shelly and Ryan forced fine saves out of Niall McSweeney, Aidan Behan cleared off the line and top scorer Christy English lashed one off the crossbar.

Waterford haven’t managed a minor victory since 2014. Despite the best efforts of McSweeney, Liam Fennell and James Power, they made too many handling errors and struggled at midfield throughout.

A burst of 1-4 approaching the break gave a wind-assisted Tipp a 1-9 to 1-2 interval lead.

A point attempt from talisman Kyle Shelly on 27 minutes looped over McSweeney and into the back of the net. The full forward proved a handful for Waterford captain Tom Walsh.

Sean O'Connor, Eddie Daly, Keith Ryan and Christy English lifted white flags in this crucial period. The blue and gold bossed the opposition kickouts and recorded eight wides compared to Waterford’s one.

The locals went 1-1 to 0-2 ahead with ten minutes on the stopwatch when midfielder James Power approached from the right and sent a deflected effort past Callan Scully.

Tipp free-taker English cancelled it out with three in a row. Power levelled from a free but it proved their last score of the opening thirty. The Tipp takeover left them seven in arrears at halfway.

Two frees Power reduced the gap to five during the third quarter. The number nine ended with 1-4 to his credit. McSweeney denied Devon Ryan from close range.

On 40 minutes, a Ryan point effort hit the post but he buried the rebound with the aid of the metalwork this time. Max Hackett became Tipp’s eighth scorer at the three-quarter stage and the leaders eased off. They used their full complement of subs.

Liam Fennell gave fiery display at wing-back for Waterford but two quick yellows from referee Alan Long forced him to sit out the closing eleven minutes.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Tom Flynn’s charges battled to the full-time whistle. Their endeavours were rewarded when Aaron Ryan forced in a consolation goal two minutes from time.

Scorers for Tipperary: C English 0-5 (4fs), K Shelly, D Ryan 1-0 each, S O'Connor 0-2 (1f), J Ryan, K Ryan, M Hackett, E Daly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: J Power 1-4 (3fs), A Ryan 1-1, L Fennell 0-1.

Tipperary: C Scully (Nenagh Éire Óg); T McDonagh (Cahir), S Lowe (Moyne-Templetuohy), C McDonagh (Cahir); M O’Meara (Grangemockler-Ballyneale), G Meagher (Inane Rovers), J Ryan (Arravale Rovers); K Hayes (Moycarkey-Borris), K Ryan (Upperchurch-Drombane); M Hackett (Moycarkey-Borris), D Ryan (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams), E Daly (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams); C English (Ballyporeen), K Shelly (Moycarkey-Borris), S O’Connor (Clonmel Commercials).

Subs: C Power (Ballina) for Daly (45), R Byron (Galtee Rovers) for Hayes (48), J Holloway (Carrick Swan) for English (55), D Farrelly (Clerihan) for D Ryan (58), C Whelan (Mullinahone) for J Ryan (58), K Costello (Durlas Óg) for Hackett (61).

Waterford: N McSweeney (Gaultier); S Lennon (Brickey Rangers), T Walsh (Rathgormack), S Boyce (The Nire); L Fennell (Stradbally), C Foley (Ballinacourty), A Behan (Kilrossanty); C Browne (Brickey Rangers), L Walsh (The Nire); H Griffin (Ballinameela), J Power (Rathgormack), S Ronayne (Brickey Rangers); A Ryan (The Nire), M O Floinn (Old Parish), N O'Keeffe (De La Salle).

Subs: R Elliffe (Rathgormack) for Browne (37), T Mooney (Kill) for Boyce (42), P Fitzgerald (Kilrossanty) for O'Keeffe (57).

Referee: A Long (Cork).

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