Waterford 1-14 Tipperary 0-16
The drama came late in Walsh Park yesterday, but it was worth waiting for.
Waterford and Tipperary were counting down to a lively Allianz Hurling League draw, the clock deep in injury time, when Kevin Moran won the ball far out on the wing. Bottled up by Tipp backs, the Waterford captain looked out of options until he struck a magnificent winner, curling the ball over the bar even as his boots scraped the whitewash of the sideline.
“What a point from Kevin,” gushed his manager Michael Ryan afterwards.
“I was delighted with the support we got today and the result will do wonders for this young team going forward. In the closing stages, the Tipp lead was still manageable, we knew that.”
Tipp manager Eamon O’Shea was generous: “There was a strong wind but credit to Waterford, they battled away. We lost our way a bit near the end, and they came and won it. It was a great strike, in fairness.”
Tipp began well yesterday: Seamus Callanan impressed in the first quarter — better known as a wing-forward, perhaps, he started at full-forward and gave Tipp three points in the first 15 minutes, including one from a free.
The blue and gold were all the more grateful for Callanan’s effectiveness as Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh was his usual imperious self at centre-back for Waterford, dominating his area utterly, though against the stiff breeze, the home side only managed one point in the first quarter, a Brian O’Halloran effort from play.
The game sparked to life with a Waterford goal on 17 minutes — good work by Maurice Shanahan freed Jamie Barron inside the 14-metre line, and after a fine dummy, Barron rifled home a fine goal.
Martin O’Neill added a free from Waterford, but Tipperary answered with points by Callanan, Shane McGrath and Noel McGrath to make it 1-2 to 0-7 on 24 minutes.
Tipperary might have added a goal at that stage when a long-range free dropped in the Waterford square, but keeper Ian O’Regan saved well for a 65 which Callanan pointed: 1-2 to 0-8.
Waterford closed out the half well, however: Maurice Shanahan and Jake Dillon hit points and Martin O’Neill converted two close-in frees to O’Meara’s sole response for Tipperary, leaving the teams 1-6 to 0-9 at the break, and Waterford set fair with a considerable wind to help them in the second half.
However, Tipperary wired into the second half with three early Callanan points from frees, the introduction of Brendan Maher improving the Premier’s fortunes in midfield immensely. It took Waterford 10 minutes to get on the scoresheet, with an O’Neill free, and as the game moved to the three-quarter stage, Callanan hammered over another point, from play, to leave the score 0-13 to 1-7.
With Brendan Maher continuing to shine in midfield, Tipp had a platform they didn’t have in the first half, and shone as a result. Lar Corbett, O’Meara and Callanan hit three scores while all Waterford could offer were two pointed frees from sub Padraic Mahony.
With 10minutes left it was 0-16 to 1-9, then, and looking good for Tipp, but Waterford reeled them in with Mahony’s accuracy from placed balls.
Even then, they made life hard for themselves: with the game almost up, the home side hit two poor wides, and it seemed their chance was gone, before Moran’s wonderful match-winner.
“There’s too much talk about management teams,” said Ryan afterwards.
“I’m delighted for the guys because it’s all about players. Our job is to get them ready and then to let them off and play and they did that today. The last five or six minutes epitomised everything about them. The heart, spirit, fight — it’s all about fight.”
O’Shea saw positives in his own team’s performance.
“I wouldn’t be too hard on my team,” said O’Shea. “We had a poor first half, we battled back and we had the initiative. We just didn’t hold it until the end, but I thought the team battled hard. We just couldn’t seem to get our hands on the ball in the last few minutes, but they (Waterford) were fully deserving of something out of the game.”
n A minute’s silence was observed in memory of the late Craig Walsh of Carrick Swans.
Subs for Waterford: D. Fives for S. Fives (blood) 24-29; P. Mahony for O’Neill, 54; B. O’Sullivan for Shanahan, 60; D. Fives for O’Halloran, 65.
Subs for Tipperary: E. Kelly and B. Maher for Ryan and N. McGrath HT; J. O’Dwyer for Bourke, 46; P. Bourke for Woodlock, 62; J. Forde for O’Meara, 67.
Scorers for Waterford: P. Mahony and M. O’Neill 0-4 (all fs), J. Barron 1-1; J. Dillon 0-2; B. O’Halloran, M. Shanahan and K. Moran 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: S. Callanan 0-10 (0-4 fs, 0-1 65); B. O’Meara 0-2; L. Corbett, N. McGrath, S. McGrath and S. Bourke 0-1 each.
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