Butler serves up treat for Tipp
National Hurling League round-up
A superb goal shortly before half-time from Seamus Butler provided the vital spark that ultimately took Tipperary to a fine 1-16 to 0-14 win over reigning champions Waterford in yesterday's National Hurling League Division One play-off at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny.
Tipperary have now booked their place in the semi-finals and yesterday's victory has sparked the hope that a hurling renaissance is underway.
Tipperary had been playing second fiddle up until Butler's timely coup saw them enjoy a 1-8 to 0-7 half-time lead and they managed to retain the initiative for the greater part of the second-half with Michael Walsh a colossus at midfield and Eoin Kelly on fire in attack. The latter's 10 points from frees and play underpinned Tipperary's triumph.
Dave Bennett landed a similar number for Waterford from play and frees but even his artistic scoring touch could not prevent his side from going under. Veterans John Mullane, Tony Browne and especially Ken McGrath at centre-half-back all showed up well against their Munster rivals, too.
But Tipperary's ability to absorb pressure and launch telling counter-attacks stood them in good stead especially in the closing stages when Waterford mounted a strong bid to salvage the match.
In the other Division 1A play-off, Cork proved too strong for Limerick in the second-half of a rather tame encounter at the Gaelic Grounds.
Limerick led by 0-6 to 0-5 in a match in which both teams shot an inordinate number of wides but Cork showed greater composure in the second period. Ben O'Connor eventually found the range and with Cathal Naughton and Sean Og O hAilpin chipping in with excellent scores, the Leesiders left Limerick with rather too much to do over the final furlong.
Andrew O'Shaughnessy pocketed most of Limerick's points - again - but it was a measure of their anxiety to gain a solid foothold around the middle that they withdrew their ace marksman to this area but in vain.