Fadeouts after half-time were a symptom of Wexford’s malaise en route to relegation to the league’s bottom tier but they were excellent in Clonmel yesterday, overturning an eight-point deficit to collect a second victory of the campaign.
For manager David Power, this was a sweet victory, as Tipperary’s 2011 All-Ireland minor winning boss returned to familiar ground.
He said: “They played with a bit of passion. The second half, in all of our league matches, we’ve died away. It was completely down to a lack of belief and heart but at least we showed that fighting spirit today.”
Tipperary were already safe and had nothing other than pride to play for on a day when manager Peter Creedon rested his U21 players ahead of Thursday’s EirGrid Munster final with Cork.
But he conceded that Tipp’s second-half display was “very poor” as the hosts frittered away a 2-8 to 0-6 advantage built up in the first half.
Playing with the breeze from the start, Tipp put together some fine passages of play but in the second half, only Ger Mulhaire offered resistance as Wexford exerted control.
Creedon said: “Give credit to Wexford – they came back and had two goals wiped off in five minutes. Our second half was very poor after an okay first half.”
Kevin O’Grady’s clinical strike 39 seconds after the restart kickstarted the Wexford fightback before Ciaran Lyng lobbed Colum Nugent from a quickly-taken free for a cheeky second goal.
Barry Grogan’s missed penalty before half-time would prove costly for Tipp as they suffered just a third loss of the season – and a first on home soil following three victories at Semple Stadium.
Power smiled: “I had to put my head down in Clonmel for the last two or three months! It was tough going but we’ve finished on a high.”
G Mulhaire 0-5, P Acheson 1-1, G Hannigan 1-0, C Sweeney 0-3 (1f), B Mulvihill, S Flynn & D Lonergan 0-1 each.
C Lyng 1-5 (1-2f), K O’Grady 1-1, T Rossiter, B Brosnan (1f, 1 45) & E Nolan 0-2 each, J Rossiter, K Butler & J White 0-1 each.
C Nugent; D Lynch, P Codd, A Morrissey; D Dwyer, R Kiely, A Campbell; G Hannigan, S Kennedy; G Mulhaire, B Grogan, S Flynn; D Lonergan, C Sweeney, P Acheson.
M Quinlivan for Flynn (46), D Kearney for Morrissey (46), B Mulvihill for Lonergan (59), G Halley for Dwyer (59) K Fox for Sweeney (70), C O’Sullivan for Grogan (70).
S Roche; P O’Keeffe, J Rossiter, M Furlong; B Malone, N Rossiter, K Butler; M O’Regan, C Kehoe; T Rossiter, B Brosnan, E Nolan; K O’Grady, G Cullen, C Lyng.
A Masterson for Roche (h.t.), S Donohue for Butler (49), A Flynn for N Rossiter (56), R Tierney for J Rossiter (56), J White for O’Regan (61), N Hughes for Nolan (61).
D Gough (Meath).