Tipperary retained their Munster SHC title with a slightly flattering seven-point victory over Waterford in the final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
While the goals didn’t rain down on Waterford in the same volume as they did in the decider 12 months ago, two ‘three-pointers’ from John O'Brien and substitute Shane Bourke were still the decisive scores in Tipperary's 40th provincial success.
Unlike last year’s final, the Deise produced a battling performance but it was still not enough as they were guilty of some wayward shooting and Tipperary always seemed to have that little bit extra in reserve.
Waterford were quick out of the blocks and moving the ball smartly in the opening exchanges, with John Mullane and Maurice Shanahan prominent as they moved into a three-point lead after nine minutes, but then came O’Brien’s goal after good work from Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher.
Buoyed by that strike, Tipp moved up a gear and swept four points in front – only for their opponents to rally before the break and cut the deficit to a point (1-8 to 0-10).
There was little between the sides during the opening exchanges of the second half, and by the end of the quarter, Tipperary were just two points in front.
But the arrival of Bourke off the bench changed the course of the game as he showed his poaching instincts when Waterford goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe batted down a long range free from Eoin Kelly in the 54th minute.
Bourke reacted quickest and whipped the ball to the net for a goal which put Tipperary five points ahead and well on their way to retaining the title.
Momentum was already building the Premier County’s way and once they opened up a five-point lead, they protected it carefully through the next 15 minutes before extending it to seven points right at the end.
Tipperary’s task in the final quarter was made all the easier by Waterford’s inaccuracy in open play and from placed balls, while they also encountered an in-form opponent in Tipp goalkeeper Brendan Cummins.
Scorers: Tipperary: J O’Brien 1-3, S Bourke 1-1, E Kelly (2fs), N McGrath 0-3 each, B O’Meara, P Bourke (2fs) 0-2 each, Padraic Maher, S McGrath, M Cahill 0-1 each.
Waterford M Shanahan 0-8 (5fs, 1’65’), J Mullane 0-3, S Walsh 0-2, Pauric Mahony, S Molumphy, E Kelly (f) 0-1 each.
Tipperary: B Cummins ; C O’Brien , P Curran , M Cahill ; T Stapleton , C O’Mahony , Padraic Maher ; B Maher , S McGrath ; P Bourke, Patrick Maher, L Corbett; B O’Meara, J O’Brien, N McGrath.
Subs: E Kelly for Bourke (33), S Bourke for O’Meara (51), D Maher for Stapleton (64), S Callanan for N McGrath (66).
Waterford: S O’Keeffe; N Connors, L Lawlor, S Daniels; T Browne, M Walsh, K Moran; S Molumphy, Philip Mahony; M Shanahan, S Prendergast, Pauric Mahony; J Mullane, S Walsh, G O’Brien.
Subs: E Kelly for G O’Brien (45), P O’Brien for Pauric Mahony (45), M O’Neill for S Walsh (61), J Nagle for Browne (62).
Referee: C McAllister (Cork)