Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy has described as “inconclusive” the second-half penalty awarded to Waterford.
Referee Colm Lyons awarded Waterford a penalty on 46 minutes for a Michael Breen challenge on Austin Gleeson as the latter attempted to find the Tipperary net.
Sheedy said the penalty decision was “a big moment” in the All-Ireland quarter-final as Stephen Bennett’s successful strike stretched Waterford’s lead from four out to seven.
“It looked inconclusive to me – was it or wasn’t it,” remarked the Tipperary manager when asked about the penalty.
“There are just moments in matches and we can’t control that one - we have full control over the three times we get the ball in our hands inside the 21-yard line and normally when we do we hang them up.
“So that’s where we’ll look back and go, if we had just executed our chances, we could have got over the line here. And I think getting over the line here could have given us massive momentum going into the last four but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Sheedy declared himself extremely proud of how his charges fought in the final quarter, reducing a 3-21 to 2-16 deficit at the second water break to two on 69 minutes.
“We had a really good look in each other’s eyes at the water break and said, 'right boys, what’s in this group?', and my God did I get some reaction.
“A two-point game in the 71st minute after being eight points down at one stage was a heroic comeback. Just came up that little bit short. But we could have been level in the 71st minute, that’s how close a titanic battle this was.
“We’ll look back on some of the turnovers and some of the ball we gave away that led to Waterford scores, we’ll be really disappointed with that aspect of our play. We knew we had to be very smart with the ball and we weren’t as smart as we would have liked to have been today in our use of the ball.”
Whether Sheedy’s second term in charge extends to a fourth year remains to be seen, but the manager predicted a bright future for this Tipperary group despite the aging nature of the starting team put out today.
“I’d say a lot of people questioned the character that I had in that dressing room, were these guys too old, were they this, or were they that. I’ll tell you one thing they gave you some answer today.
“That is a top-quality group, with a top-quality bench to come in, and with top-quality guys who didn’t make the 26 today. There's a very bright future in Tipperary with the quality of player I have in that dressing room and their spirit is as strong as ever.”
For the second weekend running, Waterford manager Liam Cahill praised the character of his players for the manner in which they dug deep in second-half injury-time to halt their opponents’ comeback charge.
"Brilliant heart again, to be fair to them. Tipp looked to be coming at us in droves. That's the team they are and that's what we expected. Usually when they come at you like that, usually they get you done. They were unlucky maybe with one or two chances near the end where they could have got something out of the game.
“But I think, overall, Waterford would have played the better, consistent hurling throughout the game. I think Tipperary lived off a lot of our scraps and mistakes to keep with us. So happy that we got there in the end.”
Cahill added: "Today doesn't make me any taller, to be honest about it. I take no pleasure whatsoever in being part of this Waterford team that knocked Tipperary out of the championship. That I must convey out there. A lot of them fellas that played there today and on that Tipperary panel have been great warriors for me a number of years ago. It was a difficult place to be today, but look the job had to be done and it was done and we move on now."