Fintan O’Toole reports from Walsh Park
JOHN MCGRATH BAGGED 1-6 and John O’Dwyer hit 0-5 as Tipperary went top of the Division 1A table in the Allianz hurling league this afternoon at Walsh Park.
Michael Ryan’s side upped the ante in the second half after being ahead 0-11 to 0-10 at the interval to create a cushion for themselves on the scoreboard with a series of points.
And they killed off Waterford’s challenge when John McGrath batted home the only goal of the game in the 58th minute after his brother Noel’s blistering initial shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Ian O’Regan.
Six minutes previously O’Regan had thwarted John O’Dwyer from a penalty yet Waterford could not find the net at the other end.
Their most clearcut opportunity arrived in the finale with Shane Bennett unleashing a fierce drive that was excellent tipped away by Tipperary netminder Daragh Mooney and the Premier rearguard – impressive throughout – recovered to block Stephen Bennett’s effort from the rebound.
Waterford struggled for scores in the second half as they only amassed five points and until substitute Brian O’Halloran clipped over a pair in the 65th and 70th minutes, they had only raised a single white flag from play since the break.
Pauric Mahony was predictably their figurehead when it came to landing points as he finished with a tally of 0-9 – eight from frees – while it was a frustrating afternoon for Shane Bennett and Austin Gleeson – who operated in the inside forward line – as their sharpness deserted them in front of the posts.
Bennett hit five wides and Gleeson struck four shots astray as Waterford could not repeat last Sunday’s triumph over Kilkenny in front of their home fans in the crowd of 7,344.
The teams were deadlocked frequently during the opening period. They were tied ten times in that first half with Pauric Mahony (0-7) and McGrath (0-5) the principal scorers.
Jason Forde and former footballer Stephen O’Brien also chipped in for Tipperary with that pair both finishing with a brace of points. O’Brien was also fouled by Tadhg de Búrca for that second half penalty.
Tipperary’s defence was excellent with James Barry and Seamus Kennedy extremely impressive, while they had the luxury of keeping Ronan Maher in reserve throughout.
Up front John O’Dwyer – brought on in the 28th minute – finished with 0-5 as himself and McGrath ensured Tipperary coped without their talisman Seamus Callanan, introduced as a late substitute, in the scoring department.
Tipperary’s scoring burst after the break proved crucial as they fired four of the first five points in the second half. O’Brien, Kieran Bergin and O’Dwyer (2) were all on target with Austin Gleeson offering Waterford’s solitary reply.
The gap stood at three points – 0-16 to 0-13 – by the 58th minute when Tipperary then pounced for the only goal of the game and they closed out the match from there.
Scorers for Tipperary: John McGrath 1-6 (0-3f), John O’Dwyer 0-5 (0-4f), Steven O’Brien, Jason Forde 0-2 each, Brendan Maher, Kieran Bergin, Niall O’Meara 0-1 each
Scorers for Waterford: Pauric Mahony 0-9 (0-8f), Brian O’Halloran 0-2, Austin Gleeson, Gavin O’Brien, Mikey Kearney, Tom Devine 0-1 each
1. Daragh Mooney (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill)
2. Donagh Maher (Burgess)
3. James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane)
4. Joe O’Dwyer (Killenaule)
5. Seamus Kennedy (St Mary’s)
6. Tomás Hamill (Moyne-Templetuohy)
7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
8. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
9. Kieran Bergin (Killenaule)
10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh)
11. Jason Forde (Silvermines)
12. Steven O’Brien (Ballina)
13. Aidan McCormack (Thurles Sarsfields)
14. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
15. Niall O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs)
24. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule) for McCormack (28)
23. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Forde (inj) (51)
17. Michael Breen (Ballina) for Bergin (55)
19. Seamus Callanan (Drom-Inch) for O’Brien (59)
18. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields) for Joe O’Dwyer (inj) (65)
1. Ian O’Regan (Mount Sion)
2. Shane Fives (Tourin)
3. Barry Coughlan (Ballygunner)
4. Noel Connors (Passage)
9. Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater)
5. Tadhg de Burca (Clashmore / Kinsalebeg)
7. Shane McNulty (De La Salle)
19. Gavin O’Brien (Roanmore)
10. Kevin Moran (De La Salle)
23. Tom Devine (Modeligo)
21. Mikey Kearney (Ballyduff Upper)
11. Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner)
20. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart)
15. Jake Dillon (De La Salle)
6. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
18. Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan) for McNulty (43)
14. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart) for Dillon (48)
25. Colin Dunford (Colligan) for O’Brien (48)
12. Maurice Shanahan (Lismore) for Kearney (62)
22. Brian O’Halloran (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg) for Dunford (63)
Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)
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