A bizarre late goal from netminder Darren Gleeson sealed Tipperary’s opening day victory against Waterford in this evening’s Allianz National Hurling League Division 1A.
Gleeson, who has replaced retired Brendan Cummins between the sticks for the Premier County, launched a booming long range free in the final minute that somehow found its way into the Waterford net.
And that capped a slightly fortuitous victory for a Tipperary side that flattered in freezing conditions at Semple Stadium.
4,786 spectators made the trip to Thurles for as Derek McGrath took charge of Waterford for the first time in a League fixture.
His side were excellent in the first half, opening up a 0-8 to 0-5 lead by the interval.
But Waterford were guilty of some poor shooting as Pauric Mahony, scorer of six first half points (including five frees), also registered five wides before the break.
Tipp were struggling to make any inroads as John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer hit three first half frees, with Noel McGrath and James Woodlock adding points from play.
But McGrath pulled the strings in the second half for Tipp, with fellow forward Seamus Callanan also sparking into life.
Callanan hit 1-4 in a 14-minute spell, including a 47th minute goal from McGrath’s defence-splitting pass.
That score hauled Tipp level at 1-7 to 0-10, after they had fallen five points behind early in the second half.
Callanan’s 56th minute free handed Tipp the lead for the very first time in the game and it was an advantage that they would hold all the way to the finish.
And Waterford, who finished with 13 wides, had their misery compounded when Gleeson’s free ended up in the back of the Town End net.
But overall, there are plenty of reasons to be positive for Waterford moving forward as they contested breaks and rucks with vigour, particularly in the first half.
They were perhaps unfortunate to lose by three in the end and Tipp know they have plenty of work to do ahead of next weekend’s visit to bitter rivals Kilkenny.
D Gleeson (1-0f); C Barrett, C O’Mahony, M Cahill; S McGrath, P Maher, C O’Brien; B Maher, J Woodlock (0-1); S Callanan (1-4, 0-2f), N McGrath (0-2), K Bergin (0-1); J Forde, P Murphy, J O’Dwyer (0-4f).
Subs: L McGrath for Forde (43), D Maher (0-1) for O’Dwyer (49), S Bourke for Murphy (56), R Maher for Woodlock (59),
S O’Keeffe; B Coughlan, S Fives, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, Philip Mahony (0-2); K Moran (0-1), S O’Sullivan; J Barron, Pauric Mahony (0-10, 9f), J Dillon (0-1); M Shanahan (0-1), S Walsh, B O’Sullivan (0-1).
Subs: S Molumphy for S Walsh (48), S Prendergast for Dillon (58), E Barrett for Shanahan (67), S Roche for S O’Sullivan (70).
Referee: C Lyons (Cork).