All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final – Tipperary 3-19 Waterford 1-18

Tipperary defeated Waterford by 3-19 to 1-18 in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final on Sunday in Croke Park.

Sheedy hits right note in ruthless Tipp attack

Tipperary 3-19 Waterford 1-18

All-Ireland SHC semi-final

By Martin Breheny for the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday August 16 2010

WATERFORD finished with five of their six starting forwards sitting in the stand, a statistic which goes a long way to explaining why their latest attempt to reach the All-Ireland final ran aground on the jagged rocks strategically placed by hard-working Tipperary. John Mullane took the forward battle to Tipperary with as much efficiency as he could muster but was left so short of support that he would be forgiven for ignoring his colleagues on the lonely journey back home last night. It was evident from quite early on that he was very much on his own in terms of being a consistent source of menace against a well-organised Tipperary defence. Davy Fitzgerald’s decision to promote Brian O’Halloran to the starting line-up (he came in for Seamus Prendergast, who was named on the team on Friday night) didn’t work as the youngster found Paul Curran’s power, craft and experience all too much. In fairness to O’Halloran, he needed low deliveries played left and right of him so that he could draw Curran out of position but instead had to make do with high, hanging balls, which were far more suited to his vigilant marker. Prendergast replaced O’Halloran after 22 minutes but that didn’t bring about much improvement either. Indeed, it wasn’t until Ken McGrath was introduced after 51 minutes that Waterford made any real progress against a defence where Curran, Declan Fanning, Padraic Maher and Conor O’Mahony ran the security operation with considerable authority. Further up, Shane McGrath was the dominant presence at midfield, while the attack was quick and slick, frequently stretching Waterford to breaking point. Liam Sheedy’s pre-match switch of Noel McGrath from right corner-forward to centre-forward worked superbly, as did the recall of John O’Brien.

Noel McGrath hurled like a man who was delighted to be liberated from the confines of the corner. He scored five points from  open play while also undermining Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, who has so often been the anchor that held the Waterford defence in place. With Walsh under intense pressure, uncertainty spread through the defence and was ruthlessly exploited by the Tipperary attack. O’Brien, back in favour after doing well as a sub against Galway in the quarter-final, seized his big chance and played himself on to the team for the All-Ireland final by scoring six points from open play in what was probably his best performance at Croke Park. Lar Corbett was hugely productive too, covering acres of ground, bringing colleagues into play with accurate passes, while decorating it all by scoring 1-2.  Eoin Kelly’s radar wasn’t at its sharpest from frees (rather uncharacteristically, he sent four wide) but he more than compensated in open play with two second-half goals. Noel McGrath, O’Brien, Kelly and Corbett scored 3-13 between them from play, which was in sharp contrast to their Waterford counterparts.

Their starting six forwards managed just five points from open play, with three coming from Mullane. It highlighted the extent to which the Waterford attack struggled on a day when their Eoin Kelly made no impression in open play and also missed two frees he would normally stroke over with effortless ease. Despite their problems, Waterford stayed with Tipperary up to the three-quarter mark,  due mainly to the honesty of their efforts and the hard-working ethic, which is a trademark of their game. Indeed, when they reduced the six-point interval deficit (1-11 to 0-8) to only three points (1-12 to 0-12) in the 46th minute, it looked as if they might be heading towards building up a momentum that would compensate for their difficulties in attack.

However, Tipperary’s response was quick and effective. Noel McGrath and Lar Corbett pointed before Eoin Kelly’s poaching instincts took him clear of the Waterford defence as the ball broke off a line cut and he swept it past Clinton Hennessy. It put Tipperary eight points to the good (2-14 to 0-12) after 52 minutes and on their way to another All-Ireland final date with Kilkenny. Waterford won the final quarter by a point (1-6 to 1-5) but Tipperary were in cruise mode for much of it, safe in the knowledge that they weren’t in any danger of being reeled in. Eoin Kelly added their third goal on the hour mark, while Waterford’s consolation goal was scored by substitute Eoin McGrath in the 68th minute.

It really was a frustrating day for Waterford, who faced their first big test after 22 minutes when Corbett took a delivery from Padraic Maher and shot to the net.  Like quite a few other of Tipperary’s scores, it came as a direct result of sloppy play by Waterford as Maher easily picked up a poor clearance out of defence. There were other occasions too when poorly directed passes cost Waterford dearly. Tipperary were far more accurate with their transfers and, with so many of their forwards very much on their game, it was always likely that they would run up a big score. Waterford’s tactic of swarming around midfield never really worked. It left them short-handed close to goal and while Mullane did his best, there was a limit to what he could achieve on his own.

So then, Tipperary are back in the All-Ireland final and another clash with Kilkenny, whom they matched for over an hour last year before being overtaken on the run-in.  Are they better this year? They hadn’t been up to now but there’s no doubt that they moved up a gear yesterday and they will feel that they’re coming good at exactly the right time of the year. They have averaged 3-18 in their two games at Croke Park over the past three weeks, a sizeable return which, if repeated against Kilkenny, would give them a right good chance of capsizing the five-in-a-row boat.  Mind you, it’s most unlikely the attack will get anything like as much room against Kilkenny, the proven experts at closing down opposition forwards.

As for Waterford, it turned into yet another depressing August Sunday at Croke Park. It was their seventh defeat in eight All-Ireland semi-finals since 1998, a disappointing return for a team that has won four Munster titles in the past eight years. It keeps them rooted as a top-four team who just can’t make the breakthrough. They would have thought in advance that a 1-18 return might prove enough but it didn’t come close against a much a more enterprising Tipperary outfit. Besides, 1-3 of Waterford’s return came in the final 10 minutes, by which time Tipperary were already thinking ahead to the final.  One suspects that, had it been closer, the Tipperary defence would have been far more difficult to breach on the home stretch, just as they had been when the game was finely balanced earlier on.

Scorers — Tipperary: E Kelly 2-3 (0-3f), N McGrath 0-7 (0-1f, 0-1 ’65’), J O’Brien 0-6, L Corbett 1-2, S McGrath 0-1. Waterford: E Kelly 0-5 (0-5f), T Browne (0-2f 0-1 ’65’), K McGrath (0-1f), J Mullane 0-3 each, E McGrath 1-0, R Foley, K Moran, S Prendergast, S Molumphy 0-1 each.

Tipperary — B Cummins 7; M Cahill 7, P Curran 8, P Stapleton 6; D Fanning 8, C O’Mahony 8, Padraic Maher 8; B Maher 6, S McGrath 7; G Ryan 5, N McGrath 9, Patrick Maher 6; E Kelly 8, L Corbett 9, J O’Brien 9. Subs: S Callanan 7 for Ryan (50), P Bourke 6 for Patrick Maher (62).

Waterford — C Hennessy 6; E Murphy 5, L Lawlor 5, N Connors 6; T Browne 6, M Walsh 5, D Prendergast 6; S O’Sullivan 5, R Foley 5; S Molumphy 5, K Moran 5, E Kelly 5; J Mullane 9, B O’Halloran 5, S Walsh 5. Subs: S Prendergast 6 for O’Halloran (22), K McGrath 7 for Kelly (51), D Shanahan 5 for Moran (55), E McGrath 7 for S Walsh (55), T Ryan for Molumphy (66).

Ref — J Sexton (Cork)
All action Tipp in mood for final atonement

Tipperary 3-19 Waterford 1-18

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, August 16, 2010

AFTER this, a far more comprehensive All-Ireland semi-final win than the scoreline would suggest, it can be said with certainty – Tipperary are back. Back in another All-Ireland final and back to the kind of form they showed in almost toppling Kilkenny in last year’s decider.  Seems like a long time ago now that this same Tipperary team were suffering something of a crisis against Cork down in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the first round of the Munster championship.  Yet it was only a few months ago, May 30 to be exact, when they crashed to a 10-point defeat.

After that defeat we were left wondering which was the aberration, that startlingly poor performance, or the heights of last September? Well, now we know. In Tipperary’s subsequent All-Ireland qualifier wins over first Wexford, then Offaly, there were hints; then came the All-Ireland quarter-final and a late, late win over Galway, a victory chiselled from adversity, coming from two points behind in the final minutes to win by one. That win showed character, showed steely determination, vital ingredients in any ambitious side. This one though showed class, real class, a comprehensive beating of a Waterford team that all season had set out its stall to defend, to keep the score down and then count on the likes of their two marquee forwards, John Mullane and free-taker Eoin Kelly, to do just enough for them to win.

Mullane was superb again yesterday, scored three points from play and was fouled for three more, and Eoin contributed five points from placed balls but was well held otherwise by the tenacious Declan Fanning. With no-one else really featuring, however, against an on-fire Tipperary defence in which Paul Curran and Conor O’Mahony were superb, a dominant midfield of Brendan Maher and Shane McGrath, and a sizzling attack that was firing on all cylinders, that wasn’t even nearly enough.  A start-to-finish and front-to-back team performance, everyone contributing, this was a rallying cry for Tipperary, a real return to form.  The first quarter was a battle, the kind of dogfight Waterford wanted, the kind of dogfight they had thrived on in winning Munster, and after 17 minutes they were level, 0-5 apiece.

Already, however, the signs were there. Young Noel McGrath (hard to believe he’s still only 19) was having a field day at centre-forward for Tipp on Waterford’s outstanding defender Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, while John O’Brien – whose selection had caught many by surprise – was causing huge problems in the corner.  All over the field there was a purpose about Tipperary’s play, and Waterford were struggling to contain the Premier men’s pace and power. When the first Tipperary goal did come, however, it was a simple affair. Another huge ball from the Tipperary half-back line by the unchallenged Padraic Maher was plucked from over the head of Waterford full-back Liam Lawlor by Lar Corbett – Clinton Hennessey was given no chance.

That strike put Tipperary five points ahead by the 23rd minute, and though Waterford fought back again, a flurry of points before the break (O’Brien, McGrath and Tipp free-taker Eoin Kelly) saw Tipp, the odds-on favourites, ahead at the break by six (1-11 to 0-8).  Waterford were in trouble and a good start to the second half was needed by the Munster champions. It came too with points from Kelly (two frees), a long-range free by Tony Browne, and a super score by Mullane bringing them back to within a goal of Tipp in the 46th minute (1-12 to 0-12). That was their last hurrah though as points from Noel McGrath (took over the long-range frees from Eoin Kelly) and Lar before the second Tipperary goal. Battling a back injury for the last week, Eoin Kelly was now in another battle, with all the various members of the Waterford inside defence but with Noel Connors particularly. But then a moment of genius. A clever touch on a long McGrath sideline ball, a quick pounce on the break, a first-time ground shot, and Eoin had his first goal to propel Tipperary into an eight-point lead (2-14 to 0-12).

That was the end of it. Oh, there was a third Tipperary goal, Eoin Kelly again, put clear in the 60th minute by the pace and pass of Lar Corbett for an open shot, but the game was already decided.  As they had done on a few successful occasions this season Waterford brought on the cavalry, five of their starting forwards replaced, Big Dan Shanahan and the McGrath brothers, Ken and Eoin, coming in for the final 20 minutes. All too late, even if Ken (3 points) and Eoin (a goal) McGrath did suggest that they had much more to offer.  Overall, a complete team performance for Tipperary in a complete win, and it throws up the prospect of another hotly contested All-Ireland final.  Would anyone have seen that at the end of last May, however? So much can change in less than three months.

Tipperary: Brendan Cummins; Paddy Stapleton, Paul Curran, Michael Cahill; Declan Fanning, Conor OMahony, Padraic Maher; Brendan Maher, Shane McGrath (0-1); Gearóid Ryan, Patrick Maher, John O’Brien (0-6); Noel McGrath (0-5), Eoin Kelly (2-5), Lar Corbett (1-2).
Subs: Seamus Callanan, Pa Bourke.

Waterford: Clinton Hennessy; Eoin Murphy, Liam Lawlor, Noel Connors; Tony Browne (0-3), Michael Walsh, Declan Prendergast; Shane O’Sullivan, Richie Foley (0-1); Kevin Moran (0-1), Stephen Molumphy (0-1), Eoin Kelly (0-5); John Mullane (0-3), Shane Walsh, Brian O’Halloran.

Subs: Seamus Prendergast (0-1), Ken McGrath (0-3), Tommy Ryan, Eoin McGrath (1-0).

Referee: J Sexton (Cork)
Tipperary get past Waterford to face Kilkenny in final

From the Breaking News.ie web site

Tipperary 3-19 Waterford 1-18

Tipperary will face Kilkenny in the final of the GAA All-Ireland Hurling Senior Championship for the second year in a row after they overcame Waterford at Croke Park today. Goals proved to be the deciding factors for Liam Sheedy’s side, who were fully deserving of their win, benefiting from some astute tactical decisions on the sideline. Noel McGrath was probably Tipp’s brightest star, though captain Eoin Kelly plundered two goals while John O’Brien, Shane McGrath and Padraic Maher also shone. John Mullane showed up well for Waterford but not enough of the rest of their forwards did so, in contrast to Tipp’s attacking division.

After an even opening, Tipp powered ahead to lead at half-time, 1-11 to 0-8, the crucial score coming from Lar Corbett in the 22nd minute, when he caught an excellent Padraic Maher delivery to kick the sliothar past Clinton Hennessy in the Waterford goal. That, and the performances of Noel McGrath and John O’Brien, who scored seven points between them in the opening period, was the difference between the sides. McGrath, playing at centre-forward, was in excellent form as he was involved in a number of scores, curbing the influence of Déise centre-back Michael Walsh in the process. While midfield was even for the most part, Shane McGrath’s display meant that Tipp were shading matters there, but even though some of Waterford’s distribution was poor, Eoin Kelly was on form from frees for the most part while John Mullane also contributed two good points. Paul Curran and Padraic Maher were shining in defence for Tipp, who never trailed in the opening half bar the game’s opening score, from Richie Foley. By the time of the goal, Tipp had forged 0-7 to 0-5 ahead, and though Waterford stayed in touch from there to the break, Tipperary looked that bit sharper, Corbett’s point in injury time meaning that there were six points between the sides at the interval.

A Tony Browne free within a minute of the restart gave Waterford some hope, however, and when Eoin Kelly converted his fourth free the gap was down to four, while his Tipperary namesake was struggling from placed balls, missing three in the opening nine minutes of the second half. O’Brien’s fourth point had put them four ahead again though, but Waterford looked to have the momentum now, Mullane with a fine score and another Kelly free making it 1-12 to 0-12 in the 46th minute. Davy Fitzgerald’s side were defending far better than they had been in the first half, but in attack they were still being made to work hard for their scores, as evidenced by the withdrawal of Eoin Kelly for Ken McGrath in the 51st minute.

At the other end Noel McGrath, having taken over free-taking duties, restored Tipp’s four-point lead before Corbett added a wondrous point, and then came the second goal, Kelly showing brilliant skill to create a chance from Noel McGrath’s sideline. With an eight-point lead, 2-14 to 0-12, Tipp were now fully in command and Waterford went for broke, bringing on Dan Shanahan and Eoin McGrath for Kevin Moran and Shane Walsh. Points from another sub, Ken McGrath, and Stephen Molumphy got them back into it somewhat, but Noel McGrath was in irrepressible form, sending over two points in the space of a minute.

Waterford needed a goal and they almost got it but Mullane’s tame shot was saved by Brendan Cummins and though a Ken McGrath point followed, less than a minute later the game was as good as over, as Eoin Kelly scored his second goal, profiting from a Corbett handpass. Mullane did have another goal chance brilliantly blocked by Cummins while Ken McGrath had a 20m free stopped, and though Tony Browne scored the 65s that resulted from both of those chances, Waterford needed more. They got it when Eoin McGrath flicked the ball past Cummins when a Walsh free floated over the Tipp defence, making it 3-18 to 1-17, and his brother Ken followed that immediately with a point to leave two goals in it as the game entered its final minute of normal time. Tipp were not going to be caught though and O’Brien’s sixth point wrapped things up for them, setting up a rematch with the Cats next month.

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; D Fanning, C O’Mahony, Padraic Maher; B Maher, S McGrath (0-1); G Ryan, N McGrath (0-7, 0-1f, 0-1 65), Patrick Maher; J O’Brien (0-6), L Corbett (1-1), E Kelly (2-3, 0-2f).

Subs: D Young for Fanning (blood, 33-34), S Callanan for Ryan (50), B O’Meara for O’Brien (blood, 54-57), P Bourke for Patrick Maher (62)

WATERFORD: C Hennessy; E Murphy, L Lawlor, N Connors; T Browne (0-3, 0-2 65, 0-1f), M Walsh, D Prendergast; S O’Sullivan, R Foley (0-1); S Molumphy (0-1), K Moran (0-1), E Kelly (0-5f); J Mullane (0-3), B O’Halloran, S Walsh.

Subs: S Prendergast (0-1) for O’Halloran (22), K McGrath (0-3, 0-1f) for Kelly (51), D Shanahan for Moran, E McGrath (1-0) for Walsh (both 54), T Ryan for Molumphy (66)

Referee: J Sexton (Cork)

Team News

The Tipperary team to play Waterford in the All Ireland senior hurling semi-final against Waterford on Sunday shows one change from the team which defeated Galway in the quarter-final. John O’Brien returns to the team at left half forward in place of his Toomevara clubmate, David Young with Shane McGrath being named in midfield instead of Young.

The team is:

1. Brendan Cummins (Ballybacon-Grange)

2. Paddy Stapleton (Borris-Ileigh)

3. Paul Curran (Mullinahone)

4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)

5. Declan Fanning (Killenaule)

6. Conor O’Mahony (Newport)

7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)

8. Brendan Maher (Borris–Ileigh)

9. Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch)

10. Gearóid Ryan (Templederry Kenyons)

11. Patrick Maher (Lorrha & Dorrha)

12. John O’Brien (Toomevara)

13. Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney)

14. Eoin Kelly (Mullinahone) Captain

15. Lar Corbett (Thurles Sarsfields)