Second half Tipp surge annihilates Waterford as Derek McGrath's system is blown apart
Tipperary 5-19 Waterford 0-13
Tipperary produced a highly impressive second-half display to hammer Waterford in a surprisingly one-sided Munster Hurling Final at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
In wet conditions, two players - John McGrath and Seamus Callanan – did almost all of the damage for Tipp with the former bagging a hat-trick of goals and the latter hitting a goal and eleven points including nine frees.
In contrast, Waterford’s forwards had a disastrous day. Derek McGrath’s men hit no fewer than ten wides in the first half alone and key man Maurice Shanahan had no impact on the game before eventually being replaced.
The Déise will be wondering how on earth things went so badly wrong after they had actually began the game brightly.
They were two points up after eight minutes before McGrath struck for his first goal.
The forward capitalised on an error from Waterford ‘keeper Stephen O’Keefe to finish into an empty net.
The goal visibly rattled Waterford and their shooting became extremely wayward – to the dismay of their followers they failed to register a single score between the 14th and 35th minute.
Despite a slow start and no points from play from their forwards, Tipp held a two-point lead at the break (1-07 to 0-08) thanks to the accuracy of Callanan’s frees.
If Tipperary barely had to get out of second gear in the first period, the second half was a completely different story.
Points from McGrath and Callanan pushed the Premier men four points clear before two goals in three minutes ended the game as a contest.
McGrath bagged his second major of the game in the 41st minute when he burst through the Waterford defence to boot the ball to the net and midfielder Michael Breen landed the killer blow shortly afterwards, rifling the sliotar past O’Keefe to put Tipp ten points in front.
The remainder of the match was simply shooting practice for the Tipp forwards and it must have made painful viewing for the Waterford supporters.
McGrath grabbed his hat-trick in the 48th minute when he converted a penalty after Barry Coughlan was adjudged to have fouled Callanan.
O’Keefe almost kept the penalty out but he only managed to divert the ball in off the post – it was that kind of day for Waterford.
Callanan got the goal that his overall play deserved in the 69th minute when he pounced on a loose ball and produced a clinical finish.
In total, Waterford’s defensive set-up yielded a crazy total of 5-17 and McGrath needs to decide whether radical changes are now needed or whether his side simply had an off day in the extreme.
For Tipperary, however, their second half performance will surely boost their self belief and set them up for a serious challenge for Liam MacCarthy this year.
Brian Cody was in the crowd to see Tipp hit 4-12 in the second half. Based on this performance, he will know that Kilkenny still have a lot to do to hold onto their All-Ireland title.
Tipperary: S Callanan (1-11, 9f), J McGrath (3-2), M Breen (1-1), P Maher (0-1), P Maher (0-1), N McGrath (0-1), J Forde (0-1), A McCormack (0-1)
Waterford: P Mahony (0-6), P Curran (0-5), A Gleeson (0-2)