- Analysis: Cyril Farrell, Ger Loughnane and Tomas Mulcahy engage in a heated debate over Tipperary's merits following their Munster Hurling Final win over Waterford.
- Interview: Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy tells Joanne Cantwell that it's great to get their hands on the Munster Championship trophy.
- Interview: Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald tells RTÉ's Joanne Cantwell that the concession of soft goals really hurt his team but they battled to the end.
Tipperary won back-to-back Munster SHC titles for the first time since 1988, holding the edge on Waterford at Semple Stadium this afternoon.
40,330 spectators were treated to a rip-roaring first half, with Waterford’s Eoin Kelly and John Mullane scoring 1-02 apiece and Seamus Callanan, Eoin Kelly and Lar Corbett netting for Tipperary.
Tipp led by 3-10 to 2-04 at half-time and Corbett fired home their fourth goal, six minutes after the break.
The Mullane-inspired Déise hit the game’s final six points but the damage had been done, and Liam Sheedy’s men deservedly held on to march into the All-Ireland semi-final as provincial champions.
The 2009 edition of the Munster hurling showpiece had many twists and turns, but the winning of the game for Tipperary came in a dominant 11-minute spell, before half-time, during which they hit 3-03.
When Lar Corbett pulled the trigger for goal number four, early in the second half, the margin was 11 points.
Tipp’s ability to put teams to the sword has been questioned – both Cork and Clare came back at them in previous rounds – and again Sheedy’s charges failed to show a killer instinct, with Waterford mounting a late comeback that went from far-fetched to deadly serious in the space of six minutes.
Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald will feed off his side’s efforts in the closing stages as he prepares them for the knock-out stages of the All-Ireland series, but the way in which they finished the game also serves to highlight the costly errors that led to Tipperary goals.
Two mix-ups in the Déise defence and a turnover of possession in midfield preceded three of Tipp’s goals.
The 2007 champions certainly contributed to their own downfall, but Corbett and company took their chances well and if Tipp’s habit of winning and just doing enough gets them to the promised land of an All-Ireland title, they will not mind how they come by their goals.
The National League final suggested Tipperary are getting closer to Kilkenny’s high standards. That will be the challenge for them as August approaches. The hunger and talent is there, they just need to show it in 70-minute performances.
Playing in their fifth Munster final of the decade, Waterford went full throttle from the start.
Moving captain for the day Stephen Molumphy into the full-forward line, alongside John Mullane and Eoin Kelly, the rush was on for early scores.
Mullane did the needful after just 17 seconds, swooping onto a through ball from Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh and scoring with ease from the right.
Pat Kerwick ended a neat run with the levelling point, and it was evident that both defences would have their hands full.
From the two rearguards, ‘Brick’ Walsh and Padraic Maher stood out for their sheer work-rate, positional play and number of clearances.
But the opening half was all about the forwards. Waterford’s Eoin Kelly could have had two goals before he sneaked a sixth-minute free under Cummins’ radar for the game’s opening goal.
Before he had found the net, the Passage clubman sent a snapshot wide of the Tipperary goal in the second minute, knocked over a free and then forced a superb save from Tipp’s long-standing net minder with a driven shot from the left.
At the other end, teenager Noel McGrath had been hooked as he looked to pull the trigger on Cummins’ opposite number, Clinton Hennessy, but Kelly, just moments later, surprised everyone when he bounced a low-slung free in front of Cummins and the stinging shot thudded into the net.
Tipp recovered well though, collecting points from their captain Conor O’Mahony, their own Eoin Kelly and three in a row from the McGraths, Shane and Noel.
Midfielder Shane burst through to score the point of the Championship so far, rising high to take down a Hennessy puck-out and dashing forward on a memorable solo run which ended with him flicking over off his right.
As Tipp began to find their rhythm, moving 0-07 to 1-02 ahead, Kelly and Mullane kept Waterford afloat. Mullane made the most of a defensive error by Paul Curran when he broke onto the loose ball and scampered through on Cummins, finding the far right corner of the net with a superb shot under pressure.
But that score only served to ignite Tipperary into action. The Tipp half-backs began to clear out, Paddy Stapleton made a successful switch onto Mullane and Eoin Kelly and his young colleagues started making hay up front.
John O’Brien levelled the sides for the third time (0-08 to 2-02) before the 20-year-old Seamus Callanan maintained his goal-a-game ratio.
The rangy centre-forward took a hand-pass from Noel McGrath, turned onto his right and bounced a clever shot beyond the grasp of goalkeeper Hennessy for Tipp’s first goal.
The mercurial Mullane rampaged through again for a point but his good work was undone by the Déise defence when they failed to clear their lines, Callanan muscled his way onto the ball and laid it off to his right for Kelly to bury it past Hennessy.
Dogged by a back problem, Kelly was beginning to thrive and he took his tally to 1-03 with a classy score off a shortened grip.
His namesake tried his luck from a close-range free but Cummins did well to protect his goal, only for Kelly to register a point from a subsequent free after O’Mahony had been whistled up for a foul.
That proved to be Waterford’s final score of the first half as Corbett took centre stage, hitting 1-01 in the space of three minutes.
Shane McGrath did some great foraging in the middle, forcing the ball free and delivering it into the danger area for Corbett to catch it cleanly, race into space and crack a pinpoint finish to the far left corner of the net.
Nine points in arrears at half-time, Waterford needed a momentum-building start to the second period and wides from Eoin Kelly and Aidan Kearney only added to their growing problems.
Molumphy, joining Kelly and Mullane on the scoresheet, showed his team-mates how it is done with a well-taken point. But, once again, Waterford erred soon after in defence.
A sideline ball which went askew left Hennessy out of position and Corbett confidently floated a point over from the right.
Tipp had to withdraw Eoin Kelly at half-time due to injury and his namesake pointed a free for Waterford, before Corbett make it 4-11 to 2-06 with his second goal.
This time Declan Prendergast was the offender as he failed to clear a ball he would deal with nine times out of ten, and the Tipperary number 15 batted home off the ground. The defending champions had one hand on the trophy.
But, as happened in their semi-final win over Clare, Tipp took their foot off the pedal and with ‘Brick’ Walsh, Tony Browne and Prendergast shoring up the defence as the half wore on, the Déise closed the gap significantly.
The intensity dropped and the Waterford full-forward line came back into play, with Dan Shanahan and his teenage brother Maurice adding their bulk to the attack.
Tipp could only score three points over the remaining half-hour, through substitute Benny Dunne, Noel McGrath (free) and the long-limbed Callanan.
With James Woodlock and Pat Kerwick replaced, Tipp lost a bit of bite around the middle and the comfortable lead perhaps saw O’Mahony and his team-mates drop their guard a little.
A bloodied and bruised Mullane continued to carry the fight. The De La Salle terrier ended the game with 1-05 from play and did not deserve to be on the losing side.
But the likes of Padraic Maher stepped up to the mark as the Tipp defence came under increased pressure. He produced a very brave block as Maurice Shanahan went for goal around the hour mark.
Dan Shanahan and Mullane moved Waterford’s wides tally into double figures but they were admirably accurate in the dying minutes as successive scores from Kelly, Mullane and Molumphy hauled it back to a four-point game.
That was as close as they got. Having looked set for a heavy defeat, it was a pride-restoring finish from Fitzgerald’s players but as the former Clare goalkeeper admitted afterwards, Tipperary are ‘worthy champions’ and remain the team most likely to pose the biggest challenge to All-Ireland kingpins Kilkenny.
Scorers - Tipperary: L Corbett 2-02, E Kelly 1-03 (0-02f), S Callanan 1-01, N McGrath 0-03 (0-01f), P Kerwick, C O'Mahony (0-01f), S McGrath, J O'Brien, B Dunne 0-01 each. Waterford: E Kelly 1-07 (1-07f), J Mullane 1-05, S Molumphy 0-02, D Shanahan, R Foley 0-01 each.
Tipperary: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, C O'Brien; D Fanning, C O'Mahony (capt), P Maher; J Woodlock, S McGrath; P Kerwick, S Callanan, J O'Brien; N McGrath, E Kelly, L Corbett.
Subs: B Maher for Curran (35 mins), W Ryan for Kelly (half-time), B Dunne for Woodlock (46), H Maloney for Kerwick (56), M Webster for O'Brien (69).
Waterford: C Hennessy; E Murphy, D Prendergast, N Connors; T Browne, M Walsh, A Kearney; S O'Sullivan, K Moran; S Prendergast, S Molumphy (capt), J Nagle; J Mullane, E Kelly, J Kennedy.
Subs: D Shanahan for Kennedy (27 mins), E McGrath for Nagle, R Foley for Moran (both 45), S Casey for Mullane (46-48, blood sub), M Shanahan for Mullane (53-54, blood sub), M Shanahan for S Prendergast (55).
Referee: John Sexton (Cork).