/ GAA

Tipperary book final clash with Kilkenny

Updated: Tuesday, 17 Aug 2010 18:16

Tipp's Eoin Kelly scores his first goal in the 53rd minute Kelly's second goal on the hour ended the game as a contest Tipperary will play Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Hurling final
Tipp's Eoin Kelly scores his first goal in the 53rd minute Kelly's second goal on the hour ended the game as a contest Tipperary will play Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Hurling final

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Tipperary set up a repeat of last year's All-Ireland Hurling final with a comfortable seven-point win over Waterford in Croke Park.

The scene is now set for another meeting between Liam Sheedy's in-form side and a Kilkenny outfit gunning for a fifth successive title.

Eoin Kelly smashed in two second-half goals to add to Lar Corbett's three-pointer, and Waterford, who were always chasing the game, never looked like overhauling their Munster rivals.

Now speculation will turn to the future of Waterford's more experienced players, such as Tony Browne, and whether they will have the appetite to give it another go in 2011.

For Tipperary, however, there's the anticipation, and a few weeks of intense preparation for a game they firmly believe they can win.

In front of a Croke Park crowd of 49,754, there was nothing to separate the sides throughout an opening quarter which saw them level on five occasions.

Noel McGrath, John O'Brien and Eoin Kelly all hit the target for Tipp, with Richie Foley, Eoin Kelly, Kevin Moran and John Mullane - with two splendid efforts - responding for Waterford.

But with Shane McGrath getting through an immense amount of work at midfield, Tipperary began to gain an edge.

McGrath steered over an inspirational long-range point, and in the 23rd minute they struck for a goal.

Padraic Maher's searching delivery arrived in the danger area, where Lar Corbett beat Liam Lawlor to possession and directed a close-range shot past Clinton Hennessy.

Having handed a first championship start to teenager Brian O'Halloran, Davy Fitzgerald's gamble failed to pay off, and he was forced to withdraw the youngster after 21 minutes with Tipperary full-back Paul Curran having imposed himself on the personal duel.

And Liam Sheedy's men finished the half strongly, with Noel McGrath bringing his tally to four.

They led by 1-11 to 0-08 at the break, all but a point of their first-half total having come from play.

Mullane drifted deeper to win possession, and steered over a long-range point to add to those scored soon after the restart by Tony Browne and Eoin Kelly, both from frees.

Kelly's fifth free narrowed the gap to three after his Tipperary namesake had failed to find the target from a straightforward free.

And with Michael 'Brick' Walsh driving on from centre-back, Waterford looked a more potent force.

But their revival was cut short in the 53rd minute when Kelly showed his predatory instincts to smash home a goal with the Waterford defence failing to clear McGrath's sideline cut.

Tipperary now led by eight, and turned the screw to punish a flagging Waterford defence with a third goal on the hour.

It was the intuitive Corbett who slipped the ball inside for Kelly to beat Hennessy with a crisply struck finish, and it was all over for Waterford.

Veterans Ken McGrath and Mullane refused to admit defeat, and the latter brought a wonderful save from Brendan Cummins.

Substitute Eoin McGrath hit a consolation goal in the dying moments, but O'Brien set the seal on an impressive Tipperary win with his sixth point from play.

Tipperary: B Cummins, P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill, D Fanning, C O'Mahony, Padraic Maher, B Maher, S McGrath (0-01), G Ryan, Patrick Maher, J O'Brien (0-06), N McGrath (0-06, 0-01 '65), E Kelly (2-04, 0-03f), L Corbett (1-02).

Subs: S Callanan for G Ryan, P Bourke for Patrick Maher

Waterford: C Hennessy, E Murphy, L Lawlor, N Connors, T Browne (0-03, 0-02f, 0-01 '65), M Walsh, D Prendergast, S O'Sullivan, R Foley (0-01), K Moran (0-01), S Molumphy (0-01), E Kelly (0-05, 5f), J Mullane (0-03), S Walsh, B O'Halloran

Subs: S Prendergast (0-01) for O'Halloran, K McGrath (0-03, 1f) for Kelly, D Shanahan for Moran, T Ryan for Molumphy, E McGrath (1-00) for S Walsh

Referee: J Sexton (Cork)