Michael Quinlivan pictured in action for Tipperary against Waterford. Photo: Eamonn McGee
As widely expected the Tipperary senior footballers overcame Waterford at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Saturday evening to book themselves a semi-final berth against Cork at the same venue on Saturday, May 26th (7pm).
Munster Senior Football
Tipperary 0-20 Waterford 0-9
Saturday evening’s game was a no-thrills no-frills affair that failed to excite, but from a Tipperary perspective it was business-like in that the hosts did what they set out to do in a no-nonsense manner.
Before throw-in Tipperary were forced to make two changes from the original team picked. Jack Kennedy started at midfield instead of Steven O’Brien while Liam Boland came in for the injured Conor Sweeney. O’Brien did make a welcome second half appearance as a sub, but Sweeney it seems is in a race against the clock to be fit for next week’s semi-final encounter.
With expectations on Tipp from many commentators to produce a good summer campaign, they got this potential banana skin out of the way early. Despite never having to play at top form Tipp were 0-6 to 0-0 up after twenty-seven minutes and well on their way to a third consecutive championship match-up with the Rebels.
Waterford eventually got off the mark in the 28th minute with a point from Gavin Crotty and in fairness to the Déise they finished the opening half well narrowing the gap to 0-7 to 0-3 by the interval.
On the resumption Tipp moved up a notch, but never had to hit top gear and scored eight points without reply. They were 0-15 to 0-3 up by the 50th minute at which stage they had withdrawn Liam Boland, Kevin O’Halloran and Bill Maher as manager Liam Kearns gave welcome game time to O’Brien, Philip Austin and Kevin Fahey.
By the game’s end Jason Lonergan, Paddy Codd and George Hannigan were also introduced as Kearns emptied his bench with one eye on Cork, taking Michael Quinlivan, John Meagher and Liam Casey off as a precaution.
The last twenty minutes, plus five added minutes at the end, were a case of going through the motions for both sides, but credit to Waterford as they kept battling to the end and even had three points without reply as they finished with a mini flurry.
Waterford came and set up very defensively from the outset and it took until the seventh minute for Tipp to score with Michael Quinlivan pointing from thirty metres out. Two frees from Liam McGrath were followed by a point from play in the 19th minute when Liam Boland delivered a fine foot pass to Kevin O'Halloran who finished the move in style.
Jack Kennedy and Jimmy Feehan tagged on points in the 23rd and 27th minute as the gap between the division two and division four sides became more noticeable.
Eventually in the 28th minute Waterford strung a good move of their own together with Kieran Power and Brian Looby involved in the build-up to Gavin Crotty's opening point.
After Michael Quinlivan was fouled, Liam McGrath free extended Tipp's lead to 0-7 to 0-1, but Waterford finished with two points of their own, both from the hard-working Tommy Prendergast.
Waterford were slow to commit to attack, often with fourteen players inside their own 45-yard line, but when they did venture forward they were capable of picking off points and had they been more accurate in front of the posts would have done even better. Both sides kicked seven first half wides.
PUT THE ISSUE TO BED
But the opening fifteen minutes of the second period put the issue to bed early with Tipp having it very much their own way.
Michael Quinlivan, with a burst of pace, got in around the Waterford backs to fist a point just after the restart followed by a brace from Liam McGrath, which included a lovely effort from forty metres out from open play and then a free.
Another free from the Loughmore man in the 43rd minute had the gap out to 0-11 to 0-3 before Tipp kicked on with points from Quinlivan, O'Halloran, Liam Boland and Josh Keane to be a dozen clear with twenty minutes to go.
Gavin Crotty, with his second point of the night, got Waterford back on the scoreboard at last in the 51st minute shortly before their team captain James McGrath was black-carded.
Tipp subs Jason Lonergan and Philip Austin tapped over nice points as Kearns made full use of his bench - these points were separated by an excellent free kick by Jason Curry for Waterford; the Rathgormack man with the ball on the sideline at the 20-metre line under the new stand delightfully found the range. Indeed, he would add two more for himself by the end including one when he cut in from the right to score.
Conor Murray and JJ Hutchinson also managed to get on the scoreboard for the Déise before the end with Liam McGrath adding Tipp's last three points (two frees) before the 1,658 attendance headed home.
Tipperary badly needed this game to clear away some rustiness in preparation for Cork and will have to improve no end on this performance if they are to compete with the Leesiders next Saturday.
Tipperary: Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Shane O’Connell (Golden-Kilfeacle), John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney), Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers), Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Robbie Kiely (Carbery Rangers, captain), Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule, 0-1), Liam Casey (Cahir), Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials, 0-1), Josh Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle, 0-1), Kevin O’Halloran (Portroe, 0-2), Brian Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty), Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers, 0-1), Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials, 0-3), Liam McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney, 0-9, 0-7 frees). Subs: Steven O’Brien (Ballina) for Kennedy (44th); Philip Austin (Borrisokane, 0-1) for O’Halloran (47th); Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials) for Maher (49th); Jason Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials, 0-1) for Quinlivan (53rd); Paddy Codd (Killenaule) for Meagher (57th); George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers) for Casey (67th).
Waterford: Stephen Enright, James McGrath, Brian Looby, Aidan Trihy, Dylan Guiry, Stephen Prendergast, Billy O’Keeffe, Tommy Prendergast (0-2), Michael Curry, Conor Murray (0-1), Shane Ryan, Kieran Power, Gavin Crotty (0-2), Joey Veale, JJ Hutchinson (0-1). Subs: Jason Curry (0-3, 0-2 frees) for O’Keeffe (28th); Craig Guiry for Veale (43rd); Joe Allen for James McGrath (black card, 57th); Mark Cummins for Trihy (70th); Eoin O’Brien for Hutchinson (73rd).
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).