All Ireland Hurling Semi Final: Kelly drives Tipperary to final with win over Waterford
Tipperary 3-19 Waterford 1-18
Tipperary will face defending champions Kilkenny in next month’s All Ireland hurling final after comfortably withstanding the Waterford challenge at Croke Park yesterday.
Eoin Kelly smashed in two second-half goals to add to Lar Corbett's three-pointer, and Waterford, who were always chasing the game, never looked like overhauling their Munster rivals.
Only John Mullane ever troubled Tipperary’s defence on an afternoon that saw him too often cynically taken out of the game with little protection from referee John Sexton.
Essentially Tipp’s success was down to a magnificent team effort based on a resolute defence where both Paul Curran and Conany O’Mahony were exceptional.
Shane McGrath and Gerard Ryan ran midfield while Eoin Kelly took the scoring honours in attack with two goals and four points, both Noel McGrath and John O’Brien chipping in with six points each.
They led by 1-11 to 0-08 at the break, all but a point of their first half total having come from play.
There was no respite for Waterford on the restart. They badly needed a goal to stay alive, but it was their opponents who struck for a second goal through full forward Eoin Kelly.
Kelly then added his second and his team’s third goal and though sub Eoin McGrath got a late Waterford goal it was all too little too late as Tipperary went about setting up a repeat of the 2009 hurling final.
The quality of preparation was vital to Tipperary's success according to manager Liam Sheedy.
“Waterford are a top class side. We knew they were going to bring a huge challenge to our team,” he said. “In fairness to the lads, they prepared really, really well, and we needed every bit of it.
“We got the goal at a vital stage in the first half, and it just game us a bit of impetus going into half-time.”
”But we found our flow again and we struck some lovely scores, racked up a nice score, and it's just great to be back in the final.”
Tipperary: B Cummins, P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill, D Fanning, C O'Mahony, Pauric Maher, B Maher, S McGrath (0-01), G Ryan, Patrick Maher, J O'Brien (0-06), N McGrath (0-06, 1 '65), E Kelly (2-04, 0-03f), L Corbett (1-02).
Subs: S Callanan for Ryan, P Bourke for Patrick Maher
Waterford: C Hennessy, E Murphy, L Lawlor, N Connors, T Browne (0-03, 0-02f, 0-01 '65), M Walsh, D Prendergast, S O'Sullivan, R Foley (0-01), K Moran (0-01), S Molumphy (0-01), E Kelly (0-05, 5f), J Mullane (0-03), S Walsh, B O'Halloran.
Subs: S Prendergast (0-01) for O'Halloran, K McGrath (0-03, 1f) for Kelly, D Shanahan for Moran, T Ryan for Molumphy, E McGrath (1-00) for S Walsh
Referee: J Sexton (Cork)