Sunday 25 September 2016

Cyril Farrell: O'Shea's men show gritty side to win ugly but Deise still alive

Cyril Farrell

Published 13/07/2015 | 02:30

Tipperary's Brendan Maher shakes hands with Waterford's Patrick Curran after the game
Tipperary's Brendan Maher shakes hands with Waterford's Patrick Curran after the game

It won't be a Munster final that will live long in the memory but Tipperary won't care a jot about that - they got the job done and showed that they can win dirty.

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It was a very defensive game and one that never really lived up to the expectation but in many ways, that played right into Tipp's hands. Tipp won ugly and in the long run, that may be just as crucial as previous stylish victories.

They had come in for a lot of unfair criticism and afterwards you could see that it had angered Eamon O'Shea. People had claimed they lacked bottle which is rubbish. Tipp have never lacked bottle.

Had Hawk-Eye not been in use during last year's All-Ireland final, Tipperary may well have been crowned champions and I often feel that people forget that.

Waterford set up as we all expected them to and Tipp were fully prepared for everything they threw at them.

I don't think that was naivety on Waterford's part because up to yesterday, Derek McGrath's game plan had worked to perfection.

Tipperary supporter Colin Gaynor (4) and a grandson of Len Gaynor, from Kilruane, enjoys an ice cream before the game. Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final, Tipperary v Waterford, Semple Stadium
Tipperary supporter Colin Gaynor (4) and a grandson of Len Gaynor, from Kilruane, enjoys an ice cream before the game. Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final, Tipperary v Waterford, Semple Stadium

Other teams had struggled to break them down and although their 15-game unbeaten run is over, Waterford won't be too downhearted and their supporters shouldn't be either.

Their journey is in its infancy whereas Tipp are much further down the line and simply had to win yesterday.

A lot of the Waterford lads will be in action again on Wednesday in the U-21 semi-final against Clare and that will be good for them. They'll feel like they have a lot to work on and their ship is certainly still sailing.

For me, the game was won at half-time when O'Shea brought Lar Corbett on for Michael Breen. It was a very clever move as it nullified the attacking threat of Kevin Moran who was excellent in the first half.

I'm beginning to think that you have to get your best 14 outfield players on the pitch at all times - regardless of what number is on their back.

Tipp were finding it much easier to get their scores whereas Waterford didn't take their goal chances - especially on the couple of times they were through on goal and that made a big difference at the end of the day.

I always felt that Tipp had much more firepower up front and at the back Cathal Barrett was a rock. He was my man of the match and is a player who impresses me every time he plays.

Everyone would like to win by playing brilliant hurling but it doesn't always work out like that and I think Tipp will be delighted to have won dirty.

Their strength in depth is a massive advantage for them and they have good options to come on and change the game.

It was far from a perfect performance and they'll know that they can't cough up possession as easily as they did at times yesterday.

They were cruising but took their foot off the pedal and allowed Waterford back into the game and, again, they can't afford to do that going forward.

However, when you're winning a Munster title and didn't play to your 100pc potential, it can only bode well and he fact that it is O'Shea's first piece of silverware, confidence will be high.

When you win by a point, the manager is deemed a hero but if you're on the other side of that scoreline, you're a failure. The margins are small at the top but Tipperary are edging themselves ever closer back to the summit.

On a side note, I must commend the grounds staff at Semple Stadium.

On Saturday, there were three senior games played on the pitch and you wouldn't have known it by looking at it yesterday. They're sometimes the forgotten men but full credit to them over the weekend.

Read more: Tipp experience vital as O'Shea's men end Déise's unbeaten run

Read more: Tipperary claim Munster hurling title with tight win over Waterford

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