John McGrath: Long-ball strategy paid off

John McGrath revealed Tipperary had been prepared to take advantage of a long puck-out strategy to break Waterford’s rearguard.

So many of their scores yesterday, including their goals, came courtesy of long balls being delivered into the full-forward line.

McGrath, who hit 3-2 as well as laying on Michael Breen’s goal, said: “If you get the ball down good and long like that, a lot of the time it will break and what we had been working on was just getting in around them breaks and we got a goal or two off them.

“It wasn’t something we had worked on but we had it in our minds that lads knew what to do when they saw that ball coming long, to get into the danger area because that’s ultimately where the scores come when you get the ball in there.”

Niall O’Meara said Tipperary had given themselves more than a fighting chance when they managed to lead having faced a stiff breeze. “In the first half playing into the wind with a sweeper, we weren’t trying to contain them but trying to get our scores as well and we did well going in two points ahead against a gale force wind, and we had a couple of goal chances and taken one.

“In the second half then the ball broke for us and we put it in the back of the net and didn’t look back, we just drove on which was brilliant.”

McGrath, whose brother Brian won a Munster minor medal earlier in the day, said there was an element of fortune to his first goal.

“Waterford were starting to get on top, a high ball came in and it just broke. I got on onto the end of it but someone hooked me and if I was out there until tomorrow it wouldn’t have come back to me the way it did and I just tapped it in. It was a nice one to settle is considering they were gone a couple of points ahead.

“We really drove on from there and put our shoulder to the wheel.”

He also believed there was luck attached to his third and final goal from a penalty. “I got the signal from the line to give it a go, luckily it went in, on another day it could have been saved as the goalie got the hurley to it, the wet ball probably helped as it slipped in off the hurley (of Stephen O’Keeffe).”

McGrath couldn’t stress enough the importance of taking the shortest path to Croke Park.

“We are going the route we want now, Munster championship winners, into a semi-final, going the direct route. This is exactly where we wanted to be at the start of the year. We have five weeks to get it right. We are absolutely thrilled and will drive on for the next few weeks.

“We are not going to use that (five-week gap) as an excuse. We have five weeks to really get down and put a good shift in and whatever happens in five weeks time that’s not an excuse.

“We were hell bent on winning a Munster championship — there was no other option in our minds. It hasn’t hindered Kilkenny over the last couple of weeks so we won’t use that as an excuse.”


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