Tipperary’s senior footballers left Clonmel Sportsfield on Sunday after their Allianz National Football League tie with Waterford with mixed emotions.
Delighted to have secured another point and to have remained unbeaten, Peter Creedon’s men were happy enough to have three points in the bag from two outings, especially since Waterford could so easily have won the game. On the other hand, Tipperary were in the driving seat after half time and seemed to be on their way to victory. But, they relinquished the upper hand when the two points were definitely on the table for the taking.
Tipperary had performed so brilliantly in Carlow seven days earlier, but they left their good form after them. They never got to the same level of fluency and made way more basic errors on the day, some of them quite uncharacteristic.
Waterford played with the aid of the breeze in the first half and it was to have a big impact on the game. The Deise, fresh from their defeat in the opening tie against Clare were out to prove a point, and they showed real intent early on.
A point after 40 seconds from Shane Ahearne had Tipp on the backfoot from the off and it took five minutes for the home side to register through Philip Austin. Waterford kept their noses in front with scores from Paul Whyte (2) and JJ Hutchinson against Michael Quinlivan, Barry Grogan and Conor Sweeney scores for Tipp. But, a number of goal chances went abegging for Tipp - Sweeney’s score being deflected over, and an earlier chance after a ball through from Peter Acheson proving too hot to handle.
Tipp hit the front though in the 27th minute when Sweeney pointed after a pass from Philip Austin, but it was to be a short lived advantage. Tipp conceded the second penalty in successive games in the 29th when Liam O’Lonain was fouled, and Paul Whyte made no mistake to give Waterford a 1-4 to 0-5 interval lead.
Waterford had, more or less, run the first half but they were guily of erratic shooting, racking up 8 wides in the process. Tipp had still to come out and play, yet they were only two in arrears having kicked into the gale.
It was a different Tipperary upon turnaround and they blitzed Waterford with creativity and inventiveness. Five points in six minutes from Conal McCullough, Barry Grogan, Conor Sweeney, a beauty from Michael Quinlivan , and a long range effort from Brian Fox shoved Tipperary three in front as the complexion of the game changed completely.
Waterford were on the ropes but Tipp failed to deliver the knockout blow. The Deise staggered and struggled, but they didn’t falter and when they regained their composure, it was their turn to dominate again. JJ Hutchinson pointed for them right before Dean Crowley received a black card and was replaced by Oran Keevers.
Tipp attacked gainfully again with Sweeney scoring and then Philip Austin had a real goal chance beaten away by Waterford keeper Stephen Enright in the 18th. From here on though it was all Waterford and their strength and fitness began to tell - the heavy pitch taking it’s toll on a physically inferior Tipperary.
Paul Whyte kicked two points in quick succession while JJ Hutchinson and Whyte again gave Waterford the lead. Tipp were out on their feet, but managed to create, and take, a levelling score through Philip Austin in the 31st minute.
The next five minutes was a real battle of wills as Waterford smelled victory and did all in their power to snatch a winning score. Tipp on the other hand were battling to keep them at bay and almost failed with a Paul Whyte effort drifted wide at the very death.
It was points shared and neither side really knew how to react to the result.
So, Tipp have three points from a possible four - a good start with the away trip to Ruislip against London on the horizon - a tricky proposition.
Best for Tipp on the day were Michael Quinlivan, Peter Acheson, Brian Fox, Andrew Morrissey and John Coughlan.
Teams and Scorers:
Tipperary: P Fitzgerald, J Coughlan, P Codd, A Morrissey, G Mulhare, P Acheson, D Leahy, G Hannigan, S O’Brien, B Fox 0-1, B Grogan 0-2, C McCullough 0-1, C Sweeney 0-4, M Quinlivan 0-2, P Austin 0-2. Subs: I Fahey for C McCullough; L Egan for S O’Brien; C Dillon for Sweeney.
Waterford: S Enright, D Crowley, T O’Gorman, K Connery, C O’Keeffe, S Briggs, C Phelan, JJ Hutchinson 0-3, S Ahearne 0-1, D Allen, B Wall, T Grey, W Hutchinson, P Whyte 1-5, L O’Lonain. Subs: T O’hUallachain for D Allen; T Prendergast for W Hutchinson; R Ahearne for O’Lonain; T Connors for B Wall.
Referee: J Hickey.