A powerful final 25 minutes by 14-men Tipperary sent them into next month’s All-Ireland final against Kilkenny,
Despite losing John McGrath to a second yellow card, conceding two second-half goals and having put the ball in the net four times but only one counting, their character shone through to reach a first decider in three years.
Ronan Maher was colossal as was Noel McGrath in guiding Tipperary to this victory as Wexford, irrespective of their numerical advantage, looked dead on the feet by the finish.
Lee Chin’s 49th minute goal put Wexford five up but Tipperary fired back with the next five points to square matters. When Conor McDonald’s goal was allowed to stand despite a question of square ball, they trailed by three but again they hit back with three of the next four points and went one up in the 70th minute through substitute Willie Connors.
A third Tipperary goal was disallowed as referee Seán Cleere brought the play back for a free, which Jason Forde sent over and he added another only for Chin to cancel it out. However, Jake Morris, hero last week for the U20s, sent over another point to crown a famous win,
Wexford didn’t look like a team that had been without a game for four weeks and were 0-4 to 0-1 to the good after the fifth minute, their movement and interchanging of positions causing commotion for Tipperary.
The Munster runners-up, though, managed to surpass them in the 10th minute when Seamus Callanan sent a rifling ground stroke to the net after being set up by Niall O’Meara. It followed a disallowed goal for Michael Breen less than two minutes earlier as Forde had fouled Matthew O’Hanlon in the build-up.
Wexford were back on level terms in the 20th minute when O’Hanlon found Diarmuid O’Keeffe in space to point and it was not the first time O’Keeffe was isolated. Points from Rory O’Connor, pushed over by Brian Hogan, and a monster free from Chin followed and Wexford had retaken the initiative.
Their goal came in the 25th minute, Conor McDonald’s shot bearing too much of a stung for Hogan to control, after Shaun Murphy had squared it to him.
John McGrath then had a shot saved by Mark Fanning at the other end and he had one disallowed five minutes later as HawkEye called back a free from Chin, which was deemed to have crossed the bar before Hogan caught it.
Undeterred, Tipperary hit Wexford for three points, Callanan’s move to the half-forwards working well, and they trailed by two at the break, 1-14 to 1-12.
J. Forde (0-12, 8 frees, 2 65s); S. Callanan (1-2); N. McGrath (0-4); J. O’Dwyer (0-3); R. Maher (0-2); M. Breen, G. Browne, W. Connors, M. Kehoe, J. Morris (0-1 each).
L. Chin (1-7, 0-6 frees, 0-1 65); C. McDonald (2-1); R. O’Connor (0-3); J. O’Connor, P. Morris, D. O’Keeffe (0-2 each); P. Foley, L. Ryan, K. Foley (0-1 each).
B. Hogan, C. Barrett, S. Kennedy; R. Maher, P. Maher, B. Maher; B. Heffernan, D. McCormack, M. Breen; J. O’Dwyer, N. McGrath, N. O’Meara; J. Forde, S. Callanan (c), N. McGrath. Subs for Tipperary: W. Connors for D. McCormack (52); G. Browne for M. Breen (54); M. Kehoe for N. O’Meara (56); A. Flynn for B. Heffernan (65); J. Morris for J. O’Dwyer (67).
J. McGrath (second yellow, 45).
M. Fanning; D. Reck, L. Ryan, M. O’Hanlon (j-c); K. Foley; S. Donohue, P. Foley, S. Murphy; L. McGovern, P. Morris, L. Chin (j-c); Jack O’Connor, C. McDonald, D. O’Keeffe; R. O’Connor. Subs for Wexford: A. Nolan for S. Murphy (inj 52); Joe O’Connor for D. Reck (inj 56); D. Dunne for Jack O’Connor (58); C. Dunbar for R. O’Connor (64).
S. Cleere (Kilkenny).