The Tipperary minor football team pictured during the national anthem before their recent Munster championship meeting with Kerry at Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photo: Eamonn McGee
A five-point win over Waterford (2-11 to 2-6) at Leamybrien in Waterford on Wednesday evening has propelled the Tipperary team into the semi-finals of the Electric Ireland Munster Minor Football Championship against Clare - that last four clash will take place on Wednesday, May 8th at 7pm in Semple Stadium, Thurles.
In their opening game in this year's Munster championship the Tipperary minor football team lost to Kerry (0-4 to 1-15) at Semple Stadium, but Matt O'Doherty's resurgent men regrouped from that defeat and beat Limerick after extra-time (2-12 to 1-11) in Newcastle West on Wednesday, April 18th. Then in the subsequent play-off Tipperary proved too strong for Waterford who played the last 14 minutes (including additional time) with 14 players after Liam Fennell received a second yellow card. And, the Premier County will approach that semi-final against Clare with a renewed level confidence.
Tipp were the better team in a game watched by an attendance of just 540. And, their margin of victory could have been greater had it not been for the 14 wides that they kicked (compared to Waterford's four) as well as missing a few chances for more goals.
While satisfied with the win manager Matt O'Doherty was keen to stress that his team will need to improve when they take on Clare who beat Limerick by seven points in the quarter-finals.
Tipp were on top for large periods against Waterford. Points from Sean O'Connor and Johnny Ryan gave them an early lead only for Waterford to hit back with a Liam Fennell point and a goal from their best player James Power. However, Tipp survived that wobble and a sequence of points put them ahead by the narrowest of margins (0-6 to 1-2) by the 26th minute.
The Premier County scored their opening goal three minutes before the break when Kyle Shelly's speculative lob beat Waterford goalie Niall McSweeney.
That three-pointer was the headline score in a sequence of 1-4 that Tipperary struck without reply during the closing stages of the opening period to hold a healthy 1-9 to 1-2 advantage at the mid-way stage.
Tipperary remained in the ascendancy in the early stages of the second half and they were eight points clear when Devon Ryan buried a shot in the back of the net after his initial attempt for a point had struck the post in the 41st minute.
Less than a minute later Christy English rattled the crossbar with a fierce drive. Kyle Shelly shot into the side netting shortly afterwards and he also had a first half effort blocked by Waterford goalie Niall McSweeney while McSweeney also denied Devon Ryan early in the second half. But their overall superiority meant that Tipp weren't punished for those missed chances.
Despite their numbers being reduced when Liam Fennell received his marching orders Waterford showed plenty of spirit in the closing stages. They were revived by lively substitute Padraig Fitzgerald and had a consolation goal a minute from the end of normal time from one of their leading lights Aaron Ryan.
However, Tipperary's dominance was never threatened and they ran out worthy winners, ending the game with eight players on the score sheet, compared to three for Waterford.
Kyle Shelly, Sean O'Connor, Devon Ryan and Max Hackett were their main men in attack while Kevin Hayes and Keith Ryan were tireless workers at midfield. Meanwhile Gavin Meagher, Christy McDonagh, Johnny Ryan and captain Mark O'Meara gave spirited performances in defence.
Tipperary: Callan Scully (Nenagh Éire Óg), Tommy McDonagh (Cahir), Shane Lowe (Moyne-Templetuohy), Christy McDonagh (Cahir), Mark O'Meara (captain, Grangemockler-Ballyneale), Gavin Meagher (Inane Rovers), Johnny Ryan (Arravale Rovers, 0-1), Kevin Hayes (Moycarkey-Borris), Keith Ryan (Upperchurch-Drombane, 0-1), Max Hackett (Moycarkey-Borris, 0-1), Devon Ryan (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams, 1-0), Christy English (Ballyporeen, 0-5, 0-4 frees), Sean O'Connor (Clonmel Commercials, 0-2, 0-1 frees), Kyle Shelly (Moycarkey-Borris, 1-0) and Eddie Daly (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams, 0-1). Subs: Conor Power (Ballina) for Eddie Daly (46th), Rhys Byron (Galtee Rovers) for Keith Ryan (48th), Jamie Holloway (Carrick Swan) for Christy English (55th), Conor Whelan (Mullinahone) for Johnny Ryan (59th), Dylan Farrelly (Clerihan) for Devon Ryan (59th), Kieran Costello (Durlas Óg) for Max Hackett (60th).
Waterford: Niall McSweeney, Colin Foley, Sean Boyce, Sean Lennon, Henry Griffin, Tom Walsh, Liam Fennell (0-1), Conor Browne, James Power (1-4, 0-3 frees), Sean Ronayne, Larry Walsh, Aaron Ryan (1-1), Niall O'Keeffe, Michael Flynn and Aidan Behan. Subs: Ronan Elliffe for Conor Browne (37th), Tomás Mooney for Sean Boyce (42nd), Padraig Fitzgerald for Niall O'Keeffe (57th).
Referee: Alan Long (Cork).
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