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McGrath brothers cut loose with four goals as Tipperary blitz Wexford to book Galway showdown

The Premier are heading for a league final meeting with the Tribesmen.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Tipperary 5-18

Wexford 1-19

Jackie Cahill reports from Nowlan Park, Kilkenny

THE MCGRATH BROTHERS shared four goals between them as Tipperary marched into next Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League final against Galway.

John, named man-of-the-match, and Noel both netted in each half as Tipp saw off Wexford by 11 points in front of 19,095 spectators at Nowlan Park.

A devastating scoring burst between the 60th and 66th minutes saw Tipperary collect 2-4 without reply, and seal a first final appearance for the Premier County since 2014.

Tipp will aim for a first victory in the competition in nine years, with the Galway fixture expected to go ahead at Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds.

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald could find himself in hot water with GAA disciplinary chiefs are entering the pitch in the first half.

Fitzgerald was irate when referee Diarmuid Kirwan failed to award a free to James Breen and when the ball was coughed up by the Wexford defender, Noel McGrath netted in the 18th minute.

Ultimately, it was that devastating scoring blitz down the home straight that set Tipp up for a final clash with Galway next Sunday, a game that’s been confirmed for Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds.

Tipp were two points clear stepping on the gas to establish a 4-16 to 0-16 lead.
Noel and John McGrath both netted in that period – before Brendan Maher put the icing on the cake late on.

The McGraths would finish with a collective 4-4 but there was a late consolation goal for Wexford when Liam Ryan struck from long-range deep in stoppage time, while the Slaneysiders also missed a penalty when goalkeeper Mark Fanning was denied by his opposite number, Darren Gleeson.

Tipp also had big impacts from the bench as Michael Breen came on at centre forward to score four points, while John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer was the creator of Noel McGrath’s 63rd minute goal, finding the Loughmore-Castleiney man with an exquisite, diagonal ball.

A big crowd was present in Kilkenny and while Tipp led by 2-6 to 0-8 at half-time, Wexford would have taken a four-point interval deficit after playing against the breeze.

They also fell five points behind within six minutes, Seamus Callanan putting over two early points, one from play and the other a 65, before John McGrath netted in the sixth minute.

Darren Gleeson’s short puck-out was collected by Seamus Kennedy, who delivered a ball up the right touchline in McGrath’s direction.

James Breen looked to be in control of the situation but his error allowed McGrath to slip in behind before finishing high past Mark Fanning.

Tipp’s second goal was cloaked in controversy when, in the 18th minute, Wexford screamed for a free out with Breen heavily tackled while in possession.

Noel McGrath profited and moments later, Fitzgerald strode across the pitch to remonstrate with referee Diarmuid Kirwan.

That led to an exchange between the Wexford boss and Tipp midfielder Forde, with tempers flaring all over the pitch.

With calm eventually restored, Wexford worked their way back into the game and had something to cling onto at half-time, despite shooting nine of their 13 wides in the opening half

They kept plugging away in the second half and were two points behind twice before Tipp, awarded just three frees in the entire game, put their foot on the gas.

When the dust settled, Tipp had collected all but a single point of their winning tally from play, a statistic that will please manager Michael Ryan, although they did rack up 14 wides, seven in each half.

But Tipp will check on the fitness of James Barry before next Sunday’s clash with Galway, a game that is a repeat of the 2008 League final, when the Premier County last lifted this silverware.

The game will also mark the first time since last August’s All-Ireland semi-final that Tipp and Galway will lock horns in a competitive fixture.

Scorers for Tipperary – Noel McGrath & John McGrath 2-2 each, Brendan Maher 1-2, Seamus Callanan 0-3 (1 65), Michael Breen 0-4, Jason Forde 0-2, Pádraic Maher, John O’Dwyer & Daire Quinn 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wexford – Conor McDonald 0-7 (6f), Lee Chin 0-4 (1 65), David Redmond 0-3, Liam Ryan 1-0, Jack O’Connor, David Dunne, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Paul Morris & Kevin Foley 0-1 each.

Tipperary

1. Darren Gleeson (Portroe)

2. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill)
3. James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane)
4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)

5. Seamus Kennedy (St. Marys)
6. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields – Capt)

8. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
9. Jason Forde (Silvermines)

10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh)
11. Niall O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs)
12. Steven O’Brien (Ballina)

13. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
14. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
15. Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch)

Subs:

19. Michael Breen (Ballina) for O’Meara (h.t.)
24. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule) for O’Brien (48)
26. Daire Quinn (Nenagh Éire Óg) for Forde (65)
21. Tomás Hamill (Moyne-Templetuohy) for Barry (68)
22. Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg) for Kennedy (69)

Wexford

1. Mark Fanning (Glynn Barntown)

3. Liam Ryan (Rapparees)
4. James Breen (Adamstown)
5. Damien Reck (Oylegate Glenbrien)

2. Willie Devereux (St Martin’s)
6. Matthew O’Hanlon (St James – joint captain)
7. Diarmuid O’Keeffe (St Anne’s)

12. Jack O’Connor (St Martin’s)
8. Aidan Nolan (Half Way House /Bunclody)

14. Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers – joint captain)
11. David Redmond (Oulart The Ballagh)
9. Shaun Murphy (Oulart The Ballagh)

15. David Dunne (Davidstown Courtnacuddy)
10. Conor McDonald (Naomh Eanna)
13. Paul Morris (Ferns St Aidan’s)

Subs:

23. Jack Guiney (Rathnure) for Reck (49)
22. Harry Kehoe (Cloughbawn) for Redmond (54)
25. Kevin Foley (Rapparees) for Morris (54)
18. Simon Donohoe (Shelmaliers) for Nolan (63)

Ref – Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)

Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald involved in heated on-field clash with multiple Tipperary players

As it happened: Tipperary v Wexford, Allianz Hurling League Division 1 semi-final

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