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Tipperary, Waterford reach semi-finals but at a price

 

By John Campbell

Reigning All-Ireland hurling champions Tipperary and challengers Waterford are through to the semi-finals following hard-earned victories over Clare and Wexford respectively at the week end.

Tipperary endured a scare against a robust Clare outfit before winning by 0-28 to 3-16 but their triumph was marred by an injury to leading scorer Seamus Callanan.

And there was also a shadow cast over Waterford's 1-23 to 1-19 against Wexford in that they lost Tadgh de Burca to a red card and he could now miss their last four encounter.

Tipperary led by 0-16 to 2-5 at half-time with Clare contributing to their downfall by shooting 18 wides. Aaron Cunningham's brace of goals in the 19th and 20th minutes helped to keep Clare in contention but Tipperary, with man of the match John McGrath outstanding, produced a strong finishing burst.

Tipperary manager Michael Ryan was understandably elated at the finish.

"We're delighted. I thought it was a real game - an absolute cracker," said Ryan, " "It ebbed and flowed and we might have looked in reasonably good shape there. Clare came roaring back into the game with six unanswered points to take our lead down to one. "

"We had it all to do. If anything, the momentum had actually shifted away from us so we had to wrestle it back."

Waterford benefitted from a Kevin Moran goal and a blitz of points from Pauric Mahoney against Wexford for whom Jack O'Connor landed a late goal.

Wexford, who worked hard throughout, missed some scoring opportunities which were to prove costly but Waterford tended to live dangerously after they lost the influential de Burca to his red card in the second-half.

Meanwhile, the Antrim senior hurling management team of Dominic McKinley, Terence McNaughton, Gary O'Kane and Neal Pedan will meet with the county board's new three-man review committee tonight to take stock of their season's work.

Antrim retained their Ulster title, gained promotion to Division 1B and reached the Christy Ring Cup final in which they were beaten by Carlow.

The current management team is keen to continue in charge but this has still to be ratified by the county board and clubs who may seek nominations although this would seem unlikely given the commitment the current quartet have offered since taking over.

In the All-Ireland Under 21 'C' championship final, Donegal beat Sligo by 1-14 to 0-13 to retain the Andrew O'Neill Cup and thus ­further underline the continued expansion of hurling in the county.

A first-half goal from Oisin Rooney and late points from Kevin Kealey (2) and Ben Doherty underpinned the consistency of Tom Hennessy's side.

Afterwards, Hennessy heaped praise on his players.

"Not many players get three All-Ireland medals in the same grade and this can never be taken away from these lads," he beamed.

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