Tipperary totally outclassed Waterford in the Munster U20 hurling championship semi-final at Semple Stadium this evening. The hot favourites, once they got into their stride, scored at will and ran out 22-point winners, while also confirming their place in the Munster final in a fortnight.
Reigning U21 All Ireland champions, Liam Cahill’s Tipperary had three starters from last year’s victorious team – Jake Morris, Eoghan Connolly and Jerome Cahill - and Morris, who started at left corner forward and had the luxury of being called ashore midway through the second half, ended the game with 0-13 to his name.
But it was Conor Bowe – a former minor – who put the game well beyond the Déise reach with his double goal strike in the 37th and 38th minute. Tipperary outscored Waterford 3-12 to 0-5 in the second half.
The imbalance in the end was vast, and after a season where Waterford’s senior hurlers made their exit in early June, this must be a bitter pill to swallow for Stephen Gough and his management team. Of their 10 points, eight came from the stick of free-taker Billy Power, their only scores from play via Tom Barron and James Power.
This contest took a while to get going. Probably, because neither had a game under their belt. They shot five wides between them in the opening five minutes. However, in front of 3,631, Morris was the scorer of the hosts first point from a placed ball in the sixth minute, and after quarter of an hour, Tipperary had extended that lead to 0-5 to 0-2 – Billy Power firing both of Waterford’s scores.
Gearoid O’Connor and Sean Hayes also got in on the Tipperary act, and slowly they were beginning to find their feet all over the field. Captain Craig Morgan and centre-back Bryan O’Mara stood out in defence and further points courtesy of Morris and Conor Bowe left them 0-7 to 0-3 ahead after 25 minutes.
Four points to two the Premier County outhit the visitors on the approach to half-time, taking a lead of 0-11 to 0-5 to the dressing-room.
ipperary restarted with Morris pointing from a place ball after Gearóid O’Connor was hauled down heading towards goal. And the manner in which they were running at the Waterford backline, it was only a matter of time before the flood gates would open. They were 0-15 to 0-6 to the good before Bowe’s quickfire goals put them well and truly in the driving seat.
The first was fired from close range with Cahill the provider. The second was set up by Sean Hayes, and after driving through from the left flank the Moyne Templetuohy attacker blasted past Dean Beecher.
At this point, they moved 2-15 to 0-7 in front. Tipperary just piled on the points and when Joe Fogarty netted on 45 minutes, the scoreboard had a one-sided look of 3-16 to 0-8.
Cahill emptied his bench but there was no let-up. Billy Seymour took over the free-taking while substitute Andrew Ormond got his name on the scoresheet too.
For now, Tipperary are through to the provincial final, and like last year, both finalists will progress to All Ireland series.
And for Morris, Cahill and Paddy Cadell, who are all part of Liam Sheedy’s set-up, they will hope to continue their winnings ways against Laois in four days’ time.
Scorers for Tipperary: J Morris (0-13, 0-11 frees), C Bowe (2-2), B Seymour (0-4, 0-3 frees), J Fogarty (1-0), G O’Connor (0-2), S Hayes and A Ormond (0-1 each).
Scorers for Waterford: B Power (0-8 frees), T Barron and J Power (0-1 each).
Tipperary: A Browne (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams), C McCarthy (Nenagh Éire Óg), M Purcell (Thurles Sarsfields), C Morgan (Kilruane MacDonaghs, Capt); E Connolly (Cashel King Cormacs), P Cadell (JK Brackens), B O’Mara (Holycross-Ballycahill); C Connolly (Loughmore-Castleiney), J Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs); G O’Connor (Moyne-Templetuohy), J Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg), J Fogarty (Moneygall); S Hayes (Kiladangan), B Seymour Kiladangan), C Bowe (Moyne-Templetuohy).
Subs: K O’Kelly (Kilruane MacDonaghs) for S Hayes (47), J Ryan (Arravale Rovers) for J Cahill (48), A Ormond (JK Brackens) for J Morris (49), N Heffernan (Golden-Kilfeakle) for P Cadell (50), D Ryan (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams) for G O’Connor (53).
Waterford: D Beecher (Tallow), S Fitzgerald (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg), J Flavin (Ardmore), T Looby (Abbeyside); D Booth (Colligan), I Daly (Lismore), B Lynch (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg); B Power (Clonea), S Whelan-Barrett (Abbeyside, Capt); T Barron (Fourmilewater), I Beecher (Tallow), G Fives (Tourin); O Ó Ceallaigh (An Rinn), M Kiely (Abbeyside), J Power (Clonea).
Subs: M Power (Clonea) for B Lynch (22- 24 bs), T Foley (Ballygunner) for S Fitzgerald (39), E O’Reilly (Passage) for S Whelan Barrett 42), M Twomey ((Abbeyside) for O Ó Ceallaigh (45), M Power (Clonea) for D Booth (46), L O’Brien (Ballinameela) for I Daly (55).
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).