Tipperary were forced to withstand a late Wexford rally as Patrick Maher’s injury time goal sealed victory for the home side in a rip-roaring round 3 Allianz Hurling League Division 1A clash at Semple Stadium this evening.
It was the visitors who began the brighter in their first League visit to Thurles since 2011 and hit the first three points inside five minutes from a Lee Chin and two from play from midfielder Kevin Foley.
The home side slowly warmed to the challenge with Sean Curran opening their account before Conor McDonald added a sweetly struck point for Wexford.
A John McGrath point and a first free from Jason Forde got Tipp back on track before the home side struck for the first goal in the thirteenth minute as Forde ran onto a centred pass from Sean Curran before controlling beautifully and firing to the net.
He quickly added a free but Wexford responded to the setback with a Paul Morris placed ball before the Slaneysiders were awarded a penalty on seventeen minutes as Lee Chin ran onto a Kevin Foley pass but was pulled down by Barry Heffernan in the process of shooting; Aidan Nolan converted the penalty and when Morris added a free two minutes later, Wexford’s three point lead was restored.
However, from there to half time Tipperary took control, firstly hitting six unanswered points in as many minutes, four coming from Jason Forde who punished Wexford indiscipline with Patrick Maher and John McGrath also on target.
A Lee Chin pointed free only briefly broke the Tipp momentum who tagged on another five points before the break from Noel McGrath, Barry Heffernan, Forde, Donagh Maher and Michael Breen to lead 1-15 to 1-8 at half time.
Wexford began the second half well with points from Lee Chin, Paul Morris and David Dunne but a Ronan Maher point and a 44th minute opportunist Jason Forde goal pushed Tipperary into an eight point lead.
Tipperary led by nine going into the final ten minutes but Wexford’s greater fitness levels saw them finish strongly, with Lee Chin to the fore with three points as they brought the margin down to three points going into injury time with Rory & Jack O’Connor also on target.
Tipperary goalkeeper Daragh Mooney pulled off two superb saves to deny Conor McDonald in the closing stages before Patrick Maher eased any concerns for Mick Ryan’s side with a 72nd minute strike to see the Premier men to the second win of the campaign.
J Forde 2-9 (0-9 frees, 0-1 65); J McGrath, Patrick Maher 1-2 each; S Curran, N McGrath, B Heffernan, M Breen, D Maher, R Maher, Padraic Maher, B McCarthy 0-1 each.
L Chin 0-10 (4 frees, 2 65s); A Nolan 1-0 pen; P Morris 0-3 frees; K Foley, J O’Connor 0-2 each; C McDonald, D Dunne, S Murphy, R O’Connor 0-1 each.
D Mooney; S O’Brien, J Barry, D Maher; B Heffernan, Padraic Maher, P Feehan; B Maher, R Maher; S Curran, N McGrath, Patrick Maher; M Breen, J Forde, J McGrath. Subs: B McCarthy for Heffernan (52); G Browne for Curran (60); M Russell for Breen (65).
M Fanning; D Reck, L Ryan, C Firman; S Murphy; D O’Keeffe, M O’Hanlon, P Foley; K Foley, A Nolan; J O’Connor, C McDonald, L Chin; D Dunne, P Morris. Subs: R O’Connor for Morris (48); C Dunbar for Dunne (59); H Kehoe for Murphy (62); E Martin for O’Keeffe (70).
J McGrath (Westmeath)