While the whole country will only be discussing one particular incident, there were a number of talking points from a captivating thriller at the Gaelic Grounds this afternoon.
Waterford showed no ill-effects from lengthy injury list
With an injury list that included Tadhg de Burca and Darragh Fives, Waterford were underdogs going into this match. Add to that the fact that their leader Kevin Moran was suspended and you would have put money on Tipp coming away with a win.
Just the opposite unfolded however. Waterford seemed bolstered by the underdog tag and came flying out the blocks mainly through the efforts of Pauric Mahony and Tom Devine. On three occasions Tipperary hit a purple patch but Waterford battled through.
This is a team that had not scored a goal against Tipp in their last four outings with their last win over the Premier County coming in the All Ireland semi-final in 2008. A late controversial call denied them the record changing win today.
Amidst all the controversy that was to follow, it’s easy to forget that Tipperary played the second half of this game with 14 men after Michael Cahill was sent off for a second bookable offence.
It was a tough day at the office for the Thurles Sarsfields man at corner back with the pace and movement of the Waterford forwards causing him all sorts of bother.
His second yellow card came when DJ Foran fooled him with a dummy move, causing Cahill to strike the Waterford wing forward. Tipperary originally struggled to counter the one man loss but eventually found their rhythm, Seamus Kennedy and Brendan Maher leading the defence.
Tipperary’s miracle fightback
Tipperary found themselves 11 points down at one stage during this game, much to the dismay of the small contingent of fans that followed them to Gaelic Grounds with no one thinking they could bull off a stunning resurgence once again, as they did against Cork.
Incredibly though, that is exactly what happened, although they were aided by that Austin Gleeson goal decision. This is a team who just don’t seem to know when they are beaten. Whether it’ll be enough for them to progress in the competition remains to be seen but their battling spirit has to be applauded.
Of course the challenge for players and management is to avoid getting into a situation where it is need in the first play. They live to fight another day but they cannot allow Clare to build up such a lead next week because even a miracle comeback won’t save them a third time.
Impact from the bench
Just when every break, every decision seemed to be going Waterford’s way, Michael Ryan emptied the bench, bringing on Patrick Maher, Cathal Barrett, Sean Curran and Jake Morris who immediately swung the momentum in Tipp’s way.
The biggest influence probably came from the stick of Bonner Maher who collected a pass from Jason Forde and buried a shot to the corner of Stephen O’Keeffe’s net. Cathal Barrett has been unavailable for selection of late due to injury but made his presence known when he replaced Noel McGrath, adding a point at a crucial, late stage.
Michael Ryan will have a welcome selection headache ahead of the Clare match
THAT goal decision
It will be talked about for weeks to come. Jason Forde went deep into his own half to take a free. He dropped the ball into the square. Austin Gleeson pucked the ball from the air and drove out. Confusion ensued as play stopped only for recognition to dawn upon the both players and spectators as the umpire lifted the green flag.
Repeats showed that it was the wrong decision from the officials but without the luxury of goal line technology, the decision stood. Incredibly harsh on Waterford but it handed Tipperary a desperate lifeline.
It is a shame that the main talking point from this intense, breathless display has to be a controversial call from an official and no doubt it will be reviewed in the days and weeks to follow.
You can see the incident below:
Incredible drama at the Gaelic Grounds!@TipperaryGAA right back in it after a goal is given from this Jason Forde free. Looks like the Umpire gave it! Over the line??#MSHC #GAA pic.twitter.com/bxlNNGQyfv
— eir Sport (@eirSport) June 3, 2018