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Brilliant Waterford deliver first Munster U21 hurling title in 22 years with win over Tipperary

The home fans saw their side take control in Walsh Park tonight.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Waterford 2-19
Tipperary 0-15

Fintan O’Toole reports from Walsh Park

A STUNNING DISPLAY in the final quarter paved the way for Waterford to claim U21 glory in their province for the first time in 22 years in Walsh Park tonight.

Inspired by a masterclass by senior player Austin Gleeson, Waterford’s class shone through in the closing stages to see off Tipperary in the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 hurling final.

Waterford were chasing their first title at this level since 1994 but Tipperary were firmly in the hunt for honours when senior footballer Josh Keane slotted a neat point in the 45th minute to tie the game at 1-11 to 0-14.

But the home fans in the 8,843 attendance saw Waterford then hit 1-6 without reply and in total they outscored Tipperary 1-8 to 0-1 in the remaining period.

The goal was a stunning score in the 50th minute when substitute Peter Hogan raced through to drill the ball to the net after a sublime overhead flick by Stephen Bennett released him into space.

It was Bennett who bagged the crucial score of the first-half when his alterness saw him net in the 27th minute after Patrick Curran’s free had been mishit.

That was a key moment in enabling Waterford to go ahead 1-6 to 0-7 at the interval after a fiercely-contested first-half when underdogs Tipperary gave a stern examination to the favoured Deise side.

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Waterford had raced into an early 0-4 to 0-0 lead thanks to a trio of converted placed balls by Patrick Curran and a DJ Foran point.

Tipperary didn’t get off the mark until the 12th minute when the impressive Andrew Coffey raised a white flag but by the 16th minute they were level at 0-4 apiece.

And William Maher’s side continued to grow strongly into contention with a Keane free in the 21st minute nudging them 0-6 to 0-5 clear. Bennett’s goal gave Waterford some breathing space yet they were only two points in front at the midway mark.

Waterford emerged in a powerful fashion after the break with Gleeson in magnificent form from centre-back. He shot over a brace of monster points early in the second-half and that inspired Waterford to go in front 1-10 to 0-9 in the 36th minute.

However Tipperary refused to wilt with Coffey and Stephen Quirke causing problems for the Waterford rearguard while Tipperary’s defence was spearheaded by Paul Maher and captain Ronan Maher.

By the 45th minute the teams were deadlocked and both would have had designs on victory. But Waterford, with Gleeson excelling in the sweeper role, blitzed their opponents late on with a stunning display of hurling to advance to the All-Ireland semi-final.

Scorers for Waterford: Patrick Curran 0-8 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65), Austin Gleeson 0-5 (0-1f), Stephen Bennett 1-1, Peter Hogan 1-0, Tom Devine 0-2, DJ Foran, Colm Roche 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: Josh Keane 0-6 (0-5f), Andrew Coffey 0-4, Stephen Quirke 0-3, Conor Lanigan, Ronan Teehan 0-1 each.

Waterford

1. Jordan Henley (Tallow)

4. Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan)
3. Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater)
2. William Hahessy (Clonea)

5. Míchéal Harney (Bunmahon)
6. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
7. Conor Prunty (Abbeyside)

9. Colm Roche (Shamrocks)
14. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart)

8. Mark O’Brien (Ferrybank)
11. Tom Devine (Modeligo)
10. DJ Foran (Portlaw)

13. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan) – (Joint Captain)
15. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart)
12. Mikey Kearney (Ballyduff Upper)

Subs

18. Peter Hogan (Ballygunner) for Roche (inj) (42)
24. Jack Fagan (De La Salle) for Kearney (57)
17. Dermot Ryan (Fourmilewater) for Lyons (60)
23. Niall Fives (Tourin) for Foran (61)
21. Barry Whelan (Tramore) for Hahessy (61)

Tipperary

1. Brian Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha)

2. Paul Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
3. Tom Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty)
4. David Sweeney (Kildangan)

7. Sean Ryan (Sean Treacys)
6. Ronan Maher (Captain – Thurles Sarsfields)
9. Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg)

5. Jason Ryan (Toomevara)
13. Willie Connors (Kildangan)

8. Billy McCarthy (Thurles Sarsfields)
14. Stephen Quirke (Moyle Rovers)
12. Andrew Coffey (Nenagh Éire Óg)

15. Conor Lanigan (Thurles Sarsfields)
11. Mark Russell (Lattin Cullen)
10. Josh Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle)

Subs

19. Ronan Teehan (Gortnahoe-Glengoole) for Jason Ryan (half-time)
17. Pa Ryan (Newport) for Lanigan (53)
24. Mark McCarthy (Toomevara) for Coffey (58)
22. Tommy Nolan (Drom-Inch) for McCarthy (60)

Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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