Tipperary boss John Evans couldn’t conceal his disquiet at his side’s defeat to Waterford under lights at Dungarvan on Saturday night – and with good reason.
Asked if he was disappointed with the result, he said he was but moreso with the display.
“I am deeply disappointed. There was no doubt about the better team. Waterford had the hunger and we didn’t. We used all five subs and still it didn’t make a difference. At no stage did we threaten the scoreline,” the Kerryman said in the aftermath of his side’s third defeat that leaves relegation a very real possibility.
Tipp went three points up after thirteen minutes but that was as good as it got for the visitors.The lead was down to one five minutes later and when the hugely impressive Eamonn Walsh scored Waterford’s first goal in the 24th minute it gave them a lead they never lost.
A second Deise goal in the 31st minute from Patrick Hurney put them 2-5 to 0-4 up at the break.
Tipperary out-scored the home side by five to three in the second half but never looked like catching them. They needed goals but a Waterford defence in which Nire stalwarts Maurice and Thomas O’Gorman were outstanding never looked like conceding them.
“We had three goal chances in the first half and all three were glaring misses. Waterford had two chances and they took them”, said Evans who is now worried about the possibility of a second successive relegation.
“We are in dire trouble and this display doesn’t show much of a spark. We don’t have the same fire. Waterford were promoted last year and we were relegated and you are in the wrong psyche when you are on the slippery slope”, he added.
While Waterford had outstanding performances from the O’Gormans Maurice and Thomas, Shane Briggs, Eamonn Wash, Brian Wall, Tommy Connors and Patrick Hurney, there was very little positive to take from the game for Tipp.
The defence was stretched by the home attack but steadied a little in the second half with the move of Hugh Coughlan from the wing to centre back; Brian Jones and Seamus Grogan didn’t make an impact at midfield and the substitution of three of the six forwards showed the struggle upfront.
It had started promisingly enough with Barry Grogan pointing a free in the 5th minute, Conor Sweeney from a Jones pass making it two six minutes later and then Sweeney was the provider from Brian Fox to make 0-3 to no score after thirteen minutes.
The Nire’s Brian Wall had Waterford’s opening score in the 15th minute and Eamonn Walsh followed up a minute later.
Then in the 18th mintue Tipp’s first goal chance came and went when full forward George Hannigan was through on keeper Kieran Cotter but fullback Thomas O’Gorman made a great block for a 45 that Grogan converted. Hurney replied with a Waterford point and then Eamonn Walsh demonstrated how to convert a goal chance when a super shot to Paul Fitzgerald’s left after great work in the build up from Briggs. Within thirty seconds Wall pointed a free to leave it 1-4 to 0-4.
In the 25th minute Hannigan had a second chance to goal but again his effort was saved and Brian Jones did no better from the rebound with a shot that sailed well wide.
Wall extended the Waterford lead with a great point and then came the third missed goal chance that so frustrated manager Evans.
Coughlan started the move deep in defence with a fine intercept and as the ball travelled the length of the field he was on hand to take the final pass from Barry Grogan and shoot to the net – but Limerick ref Michael Meade ruled that Grogan’s pass was a foul throw.
And they were immediately punished when play switched to the other end and Walsh set up Hurney for a low shot that just crept into Fitzgerald’s net.
Evans obviously had some harsh words for his team at the interval and they certainly upped their performance in the third quarter but they could never get closer to Waterford than five points.
Points from Barry Grogan and Hannigan made it 2-5 to 0-6 five minutes into the second half and a fightback looked on. But an untypical mistake from keeper Fitzgerald gave Waterford their first point of the half when he saved well but then lost possession to Sean Fleming who pointed,.
Again Barry Grogan from a Fox pass brought the margin down to five but a chance to reduce it further was wasted when Grogan sent a free wide. Peter Acheson was also wide from play and the Deise halted the Tipp surge with a brilliant point from Brian Wall. When substitute Michael O’Gorman pushed the lead out to seven with 23 minute of the half gone, the game was over. Tipp had late points from Coughan and a Grogan free but there was never enough spark in the challenge to trouble Waterford.
Tipp now sit bottom of the table with Limerick on two points and must improve for their remaining games against Offaly this Sunday and then Wexford and Cavan. Otherwise it will be a quick return to the basement division.
Waterford – Kieran Cotter, Maurice O’Gorman, Thomas O’Gorman, John Hurney, Kieran Connery, Shane Briggs, Wayne Hennessey, Tomm Prendergast, Brian Phelan, Brian Wall 0-4, 0-1 free; Eamonn Walsh 1-1; Tommy Connors, Mark Ferncombe, Patrick Hurey 1-1; Sean Fleming 0-1. Subs – Cillian O’Keeffe for Ferncombe, Michael O’Gorman 0-1 for Phelan, Sean Dempsey for Walsh, Tony Grey for Patrick Hurney.
Tipperary – Paul Fitzgerald, Andrew Morrissey, Paddy Codd, Ciaran McDonald, Niall Curran, Lorcan Egan, Hugh Coughlan 0-1; Brian Jones, Seamus Grogan, Brian Fox 0-2; Philip Austin, Peter Acheson, Conor Sweeney 0-1; George Hannigan 0-1; Barry Grogan 0-4, 0-2 frees, 45. Subs – Ciaran McGrath for Egan, Stephen Hahessy for Sweeney, Alda Matassa for Austin, Johnny Cagney for Seamus Grogan, Brian Mulvihill for Fox.
Ref – Michael Meade (Limerick).