Waterford: 2-22 Tipperary 2-22
There was late, late drama in Gaelic Grounds amid a cloud of controversy as Tipperary fought back for the second week in a row to earn a draw against Waterford.
This game had all the makings of a classic in the opening minutes. Momentum swinging from end to end, superb points being traded, both teams battling for survival. Tipp forwards were fighting for every ball as they did in the second half against Cork. But all of a sudden, Waterford ignited their play, spearheaded by the brilliant Tom Devine who found himself on the end of a high ball and when Tipp failed to clear, he punished them, striking the ball past Brian Hogan.
Some might have expected Tipperary to lie down and Waterford to kick on but momentum shifted again. Padraic Maher and Seamus Kennedy combined to close the gaps evident last week while Ronan Maher found his form once again in midfield. Tipperary scored five points in a row, mainly through Jason Forde frees as Waterford became frustrated.
But this was one of those games that you couldn’t take your eyes off of for a second. An opportunistic shot from Stephen O’Keeffe was batted away by his Padraic Maher only to land in the hands of the returning Pauric Mahony who quickly dispatched it to the back of the net. After not scoring a goal against the Premier County in their last four outings, Waterford now had two.
Tipperary were shaken. They hit six wides and their ill-discipline allowed Mahony to widen the margin, leaving them six points at half-time. To make things worse for Michael Ryan’s men, seasoned corner back Michael Cahill was dismissed after two yellow cards on the stoke of half-time.
There was a miracle comeback in the second half for Tipperary this week. While last night we saw Limerick produce a brilliant performance with 14 men, Tipp could not match that intensity. Waterford through Devine and Mahony, scored four points in a row.
All the breaks were going Waterford’s way as Tipperary began to tire, the effects of playing three games in three weeks beginning to show. A superb effort from DJ Foran put Waterford 12 points in front. A blistering shot at goal from a free from Forde just hit the underside of the crossbar.
Michael Ryan emptied the bench and immediately they made an impact. Cathal Barrett scored a point before Bonner Maher buried a goal past O’Keeffe and suddenly Tipp found themselves back in contention thanks to a flurry of Forde frees.
The biggest moment in the match came with a very controversial call when Forde dropped into the square and Austin Gleeson was deemed to have carried the ball over the line to leave Tipperary just one point behind. A breathless four minutes of additional time saw Waterford and Tipp exchange points before Alan Kelly overruled his umpires to grant Ronan Maher a point. A late Jason Forde free levelled the game as Kelly and his officials were escorted off the pitch by stewards and Gardai amid a cloud of jeers.
Waterford: Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane Fives, Conor Gleeson, Noel Connors; Austin Gleeson, Philip Mahony, Jamie Barron (0-3); Michael Walsh, Mickey Kearney; Stephen Roche, DJ Foran (0-3), Stephen Bennett (0-1); Tom Devine (1-3), Patrick Curran (0-2), Pauric Mahony (1-8, 2f).
Substitutions: Tommy Ryan (0-1) for Kearney (46) Jake Dillon (0-1) for Curran (53) Colin Dunford for Roche (63)
Tipperary: Brian Hogan; Sean O’Brien, Séamus Kennedy, Michael Cahill; Joe O’Dwyer, Padraic Maher, Brendan Maher; Ronan Maher (0-2), Billy McCarthy (0-1); Dan McCormack, Jason Forde (0-12, 9f), Noel McGrath (0-1); John O’Dwyer (0-1), Seamus Callanan (0-2), John McGrath.
Substitutions: Patrick Maher (1-0) for John O’Dwyer (46) Cathal Barrett (0-1) for N McGrath (54) Jake Morris for J McGrath (58) Sean Curran for McCormack.