Blistering attack sees Waterford past Tipperary

Déise have cause for concern as Gleeson, Fives and Prunty all go off injured

Waterford’s Darragh Lyons and Seamus Kennedy of Tipperary during their Allianz League encounter. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Waterford’s Darragh Lyons and Seamus Kennedy of Tipperary during their Allianz League encounter. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Waterford 2-29 Tipperary 3-21

Liam Cahill looked a little non-plussed to be asked if the Waterford supporters would enjoy depriving Tipperary, his own county, of a possible league title.

“I don’t know about that. The Waterford people just want to see a good, hardworking, honest team, and they’ll support them like they’ve always done down through the years through thick and thin.”

Sunday was further demonstration of the value of their team. Facing a Tipp side with something to play for, they knuckled down, rode out some phases of adversity and won comfortably in the end.

If anything will occupy them in the days ahead before their championship opens at the end of the month, it will be the medical reports, as Cahill watched three players withdrawn for worrying injuries – Austin Gleeson, Shane Fives and Conor Prunty before half-time.

“I would be concerned enough: two fellas who don’t go down too easily. Both twists. A twist with Austin’s ankle and Shane Fives pulled something again in his quad which might be a recurring injury. We’ll just have to wait and see as the week progresses.”

He said that Prunty’s withdrawal had not been precautionary but for a quad injury.

“No and that’s another concern for us. I won’t say a big concern but I didn’t like the nature of it either. I think we’ll need to do a lot of work on it this week to get a handle on it.”

On a glorious afternoon in Walsh Park, the league threw up another duel in the sun. Tipperary started the better and were ahead by double scores, 1-7 to 0-5 after 13 minutes. The goal came when Jason Forde latched onto a loose ball in the danger zone and drove it into the net.

He and the Tipperary full forwards were getting the better of their markers with Jake Morris particularly good and they were supplied with plenty of long ball into the attack from a defence that was also in control.

Like a week previously in Galway, Waterford plugged away. The bankable free taking of Stephen Bennett was a lifeline and the day also gave Dessie Hutchnson an opportunity to dazzle after the great goal in Pearse Stadium.

This time he scored a brace: the first a brilliant first-time shot from narrow angle that turned Jack Prendergast’s hand pass into a crashing goal in the 25th minute. The pressure rose on Tipperary’s lead, which was cut to two and four minutes later Hutchinson’s second, as he sliced a breach in the defence before finishing well, propelled Waterford into the lead.

They’re making a habit of complication things in first-half injury-time and it was Noel McGrath, who had the opportunity to restore the lead before the break at 2-13 to 2-12.

It was finely poised but the second half just got away from Tipp. Their defence imploded from the effort of trying to keep up with the energy of Waterford’s runners. Cahill substantiated his assertion that only fit players will be considered, as his bench pressed the visitors beyond endurance.

Their defence also got on top, winning a couple of rucks with a belligerence that Tipp weren’t matching. Just before the second water break, for instance, Conor Gleeson emerged from a bunch with the ball and the quick transfer into Shane Bennett drew a foul, which brother Stephen uncharacteristically put wide.

Tipp did manage to get back into the game momentarily. John McGrath’s shot was well saved by Billy Nolan but Séamus Callanan was on hand. It was a subdued display from the former Hurler of the Year but equally, only his second start of the year.

Nothing spoke more clearly of Waterford’s resolve than the manner in which they brushed off the near loss of their handsome lead, which John McGrath whittled down to one in the 60th minute, 2-23 to 3-19.

Calum Lyons made one of his patented surges to point, Stephen Bennett tacked on a couple of frees and Michael Kiely added another from play. A bit if tit-for-tat left that margin unaltered by the final whistle. Liam Sheedy was asked had there been any reason for the flat second half.

“No, no, no. This week was a training block again and I suppose with the temperatures the way they were, we needed every ounce of energy but you’d have to say that we weren’t at our freshest today and we’ll need to be a whole lot fresher come championship. And that’s something that I’ve got to take responsibility for.

“I’ve got to ensure that I bring these boys fresh and ready to be playing championship irrespective of the opposition so the fourth of July gives us three weeks to get ready and that’s something we’re really looking forward to. Losing that match is our first defeat, it’s not catastrophic or anything like that but it’s just the manner that we were overran in the second half that wouldn’t be good enough.”

Cahill is looking at a mere fortnight before facing a newly in-form Clare in the Munster quarter-final.

“Everything is geared towards championship. For every manager, that’s their vision. Championship is the real judge. The likes of the performance today won’t really matter if we’re turned over in two weeks’ time. We really have to be ready for Clare. See the momentum they’re building. If we’re beaten by Clare in two weeks’ time we can have no excuses. We’re well forewarned as to what’s coming.”

Waterford: 1. B Nolan; 2. S Fives, 3. C Prunty, 4. I Kenny; 7. K Moran, 6. I Daly, 5. C Lyons (0-1); 8. A Gleeson, 9. D Lyons; 11. J Fagan (0-2), 10. P Hogan (0-2), 15. J Prendergast (0-1); 13. D Hutchinson (2-2), 14. Shane Bennett (0-2), 12. Stephen Bennett (0-15, 10 frees, one 65).

Subs: 18. C Gleeson for Fives (25 mins), 21. K Bennett (0-1) for A Gleeson (32 mins), 17. D Lynch for C Gleeson (half-time), 25. M Kiely (0-1) for Fagan (half-time), C Kirwan (0-1) for Hutchinson (48 mins), 20. B Power (0-1) for Daly (55 mins).

Tipperary: 1. B Hogan; 2. C Barrett, 3. P Maher, 4. B Heffernan; 5. B Maher (0-1), 6. S Kennedy (0-1), 7. R Maher (0-4, one 65); 8. A Flynn (0-1), 9. P Cadell; 10. D McCormack, 11. N McGrath (1-2), 12. M Breen (0-1); 13. J Forde (1-5, four points frees), 14. S Callanan (1-1), 15. J Morris (0-3).

Subs: 18. W Connors (0-1) for Cadell (half-time), 24. C Morgan for Kennedy (44 mins), 20 M Kehoe for Flynn (49 mins), 22. J McGrath (0-1) for McCormack (49 mins), 17. E Connolly for Heffernan (64 mins), 19. P Flynn for Jason Forde (67).

Referee: James Owens (Wexford).

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