Tipp pull away as Waterford are left to rue loss of Gleeson
Tipperary 1-20 Waterford 1-11
These counties have produced better, and will again, but in the bitter cold Tipperary moved up a few gears in the second half and Waterford, who led by a point at the interval, couldn't stay with them.
Derek McGrath made 11 changes in a league that demands a tidy balancing act between panel usage and productivity. This was their second league loss in a row and they meet Kilkenny in a fortnight in need of a lift. Their prospects last night suffered a massive blow when the influential Austin Gleeson was forced off injured after 51 minutes.
With Gleeson on it might have been different as he was starting to find his groove. Four minutes earlier a goal from Mark O'Brien brought Waterford back level after Tipp made a strong start to the second half with four unanswered points. Then Déise debutant Ian Kenny bundled over Michael Breen and Jason Forde cracked home the penalty with 20 minutes left. From there Tipp pulled away.
Forde had a good night, scoring 1-9, including one marvellous point in the first half under enormous pressure from Shane Fives. He may have to concede player of the match though to Ronan Maher, who scored an audacious four points, while Sean Curran also left a mark with two good scores from play.
After Gleeson's departure Waterford lost any momentum the goal gave them. They managed just one more score, a point two minutes into injury time from Jamie Barron. They had a goal chance early in the second half, Stephen Bennett denied by Paul Maher, but Tipp tied down a declining Waterford attacking threat. Tadhg De Burca didn't play and Pauric Mahony started on the bench but was introduced in the second half.
In the opening half they had three fine points from Mikey Kearney and twice held three-point leads, having gone 0-4 to 0-1 down after 13 minutes. Forde's excellent score from play after 12 minutes was followed quickly by an exquisite Noel McGrath lineball, but Waterford found their way into the game, Kearney their stand-out player, with sporadic moments also from Patrick Curran and DJ Foran.
Tipp made seven changes from last weekend's defeat in Ennis, starting Brendan Maher, Dan McCormack, John McGrath and Breen in a blunt declaration of their intentions. McCormack lasted four minutes before he went off injured.
Waterford went in at half-time ahead by a point, 0-10 to 0-9, a deserved lead after playing with the breeze. But the play was littered with mistakes before raising a few notches after the interval. After starting slowly, Waterford found momentum with Curran hitting two frees and Foran then scoring an excellent point that levelled matters after 16 minutes.
Gleeson, facing the ball in the sweeper role, hit a wondrous point and Kenny came upfield to land one as well. Two from Kearney opened a two-point advantage, before Forde levelled with a couple of frees nearing the half-hour. Waterford then hit three on the trot, Kearney, Kenny and Gleeson registering, to lead 0-9 to 0-6. Forde responded and Brian O'Halloran answered that to extend the Déise lead to three again entering injury-time. Two late scores from Forde reduced the gap to the minimum and the second half slanted decisively in the home team's favour.
Stephen O'Keeffe pulled off an outstanding stop to deny Forde a second goal in the 53rd minute, the goalkeeper one of Waterford's best players on the night.
At the other end, as Waterford's attack faded badly, Tomas Hamill shone for Tipp at full-back, making a series of stately interventions. Tipp face Wexford in two weeks, their mood lifted, while Waterford must prepare for a home tie against Kilkenny, where victory is now a great deal more pressing.
Scorers - Tipperary: J Forde 1-9 (0-6 fs, 1-0 pen, 0-1 65), R Maher 0-4 (0-1 lb), N McGrath (0-1 lb), S Curran 0-2 each, J McGrath, M Breen, B Maher 0-1 each. Waterford: P Curran (3f), M Kearney 0-3 each, M O'Brien 1-0, TJ Foran, I Kenny, A Gleeson, B O'Halloran, J Barron 0-1 each.
Tipperary: P Maher; A Flynn, T Hamill, S O'Brien; J O'Dwyer, Paudie Maher, P Feehan; B Maher, R Maher; D McCormack, N McGrath, S Curran; M Breen, J Forde, J McGrath. Subs: P Shanahan for McCormack (inj 4 mins); J Barry for O'Dwyer (11); Patrick Maher for Shanahan (57), C Darcy for Kenny (68).
Waterford: S O'Keeffe; Shane Fives, B Coughlan, I Kenny; K Moran, A Gleeson, K Bennett; S Roche, C Dunford; DJ Foran, M O'Brien, B O'Halloran; Stephen Bennett, P Curran, M Kearney. Subs: P Hogan for Roche (18); S McNulty for Gleeson (inj 51); J Barron for O'Brien (54); P Mahony for Dunford (57); M Walsh for Bennett (60)
Referee: C Lyons (Cork).
Sunday Indo Sport