Sunday 21 January 2018

Hannigan helps Tipperary unravel Waterford blanket

Tipperary 1-15 Waterford 1-7

Waterford’s Patrick Hurney tries to get away from Bill Maher of Tipperary. Photo: Sportsfile
Waterford’s Patrick Hurney tries to get away from Bill Maher of Tipperary. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Dunne of Tipperary takes the initiative. Photo: Sportsfile
Lorcan O Corraoin of Waterford in action against Ciaran McDonald of Tipperary. Photo: Sportsfile
Sean Barron of Waterford in action against Ciaran McDonald of Tipperary. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Apart from the sunshine, there wasn't much of a Championship feel to Dungarvan. Waterford came with a plan and to their credit they stuck to it. They crowded out the space behind their own 45 and for long periods it gave Tipp headaches.

But you never sensed Waterford believed there was anything on offer to them here other than the chance to put a more respectable gloss on the scoreline than last year, when Tipp ran out 22-point winners.

Maybe that was to be expected. The Déise haven't beaten Tipp in the Munster Championship since 1988. And since then they have only won two Championship matches in the province, with both of those coming against Clare.

Waterford were game, however. At half-time Tipp led by 0-8 to 0-6 and found it hard to generate any momentum, despite the excellence of midfielder George Hannigan.

The Deise started well and fired over the first three points of the game in the opening seven minutes and while Tipp pulled the game back level, Waterford had two chances to bag a goal that, had they been converted, might just have set the alarm bells ringing in the visitors' camp.

First Evan Comerford made a brilliant stop to deny Paul Whyte when through on goal on the 14 minute mark. Whyte had another, more difficult chance five minutes later and again Comerford made the save.

On a day when Tom McGlinchey's men needed everything to go right for them, Comerford's interventions felt like killer blows.

By the time the short whistle came, Tipp had laboured their way to a two-point lead, all of their scores coming from play.

The opening exchanges of the second half had to go Waterford's way but instead Tipp landed the first three scores on the resumption, including two excellent frees from Kevin O'Halloran.

And just to ensure that Waterford's morale was destroyed, they fell further behind to a cruel own goal.

Michael Quinlivan boxed a long centre off the crossbar and it rebounded into the net off the unfortunate Maurice O'Gorman to put Tipp eight clear and out of sight. From there it was just a matter of playing the time out.

Tipp's lead stretched to 11 points at one stage before Whyte combined well with Joey Veale to grab a consolation goal for Waterford.

"We are disappointed," Waterford manager McGlinchey said afterwards.

"We lost by 22 points last year, we lost by eight here. We had something like 14 wides. Tipperary got a freak goal.

"I am not saying they weren't the better team, but I think the stats will show it was even enough. They were more clinical with their chances.

"We brought back credibility to the jersey. Eight points in the end, though, is still very hard to take. But there are a lot of positives to take from it."

Tipperary manager Liam Kearns admitted his side have an ocean of work to do before taking on a Cork side likely to be smarting after their relegation from the top flight.

"We're happy with aspects of it but I wouldn't be ecstatic or anything.

"The first half we weren't great and they caused us a few problems and could have had a couple of goals which would have put a different complexion on things," Kearns said.

"We switched off in the middle of the second half and we were already thinking of the next round when we should have kept playing which isn't great.

"We got some good scores so I'd be happy with that side of it but the intensity and workrate and all of that won't do against Cork - we will have to find another level than that and we have only two weeks to do it."

Irish Independent

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