ALL- Ireland champions Tipperary collected their first points of the Allianz National Hurling League last night but failed to impress against 13-man Waterford.
Davy Fitzgerald's visitors lost two players to red cards in a disastrous three-minute spell after half-time but Tipp failed to make that advantage pay with a convincing win.
Tipp stuttered to victory after midfielder Shane O'Sullivan and goalkeeper Clinton Hennessy received straight red cards. O'Sullivan was dismissed for a wild challenge on Gearóid Ryan five minutes after half-time before Hennessy poleaxed Patrick Maher.
Tipp led by 1-12 to 0-10 at half-time in front of just 4,947 spectators, as forwards Noel McGrath and Pa Bourke led Waterford's All Star centre-back Michael 'Brick' Walsh a merry dance. But understrength Waterford, who lined out with just six of the players who started against Tipp in last year's All-Ireland final, showed enough fight to encourage boss Davy Fitzgerald as Richie Foley hit 0-12.
The sides were level four times in the opening half before Tipp made the game's first significant breakthrough, when Paul Kelly goaled in the 14th minute, handing Tipp a 1-4 to 0-5 lead.
Breaks off the Mullinahone man led to a couple of Tipp scores and the goal was well-taken as Kelly reacted quickest to David Young's sideline ball to net from close range.
With Walsh content to hold the centre, McGrath roved from touchline to touchline with great effect, finding pockets of space in which to operate.
Pa Bourke moved to centre forward towards the end of the half and picked off three points as Walsh was happy to hold his position rather than following his direct marker.
In spite of their never-say-die attitude, the game was effectively up for Waterford when they were reduced to 13 men. But they avoided a humiliation as Tipp struggled to push home their advantage.
In stoppage-time, Waterford trailed by just four points and Tipp's failure to secure a bigger win will concern manager Declan Ryan.
Scorers -- Tipperary: P Bourke 0-8 (4f), N McGrath 0-7, P Kelly 1-0, E Kelly 0-2, D Young, Padraic Maher & B Maher 0-1 each. Waterford: R Foley 0-12 (9f), S Prendergast 0-2, S Molumphy, M Shanahan, S Walsh & T Ryan 0-1 each.
Tipperary: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; D Young, Padraic Maher, J O'Keeffe; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan, N McGrath, Patrick Maher; P Kelly, B O'Meara, P Kelly. Subs: S Carey for S McGrath (29), E Kelly for O'Meara (h.t.), B Dunne for Carey (65), J Woodlock for Ryan (66), S Bourke for N McGrath (70).
Waterford: C Hennessy; D Fives, S Fives, J Maher; W Hutchinson, M Walsh, J Nagle; S O'Sullivan, S Molumphy; M Shanahan, R Foley, Pauric Mahony; S Walsh, S Prendergast, E Murphy. Subs: A Power for Murphy (44), S Casey for Mahony (57), T Ryan for Shanahan (62), K McGrath for Prendergast (66), E Murphy for Hutchinson (67).
Referee: J Owens (Westmeath).