Tipp are on top in Munster, but big guns lie in wait
Tipperary flashed a strong warning that they have the All-Ireland hurling crown in their sights when they overcame Waterford in the Munster championship decider by 2-17 to 0-16.
Manager Declan Ryan, however, has preached caution as his team prepare for an All-Ireland semi-final showdown next month.
“I think we still have a bit of work to do. Obviously Kilkenny, Galway and Cork are still in the mix so it is building up to a fantastic climax,” said Ryan.
A first-half goal from John O’Brien sent Tipp on their way and when Shane Burke, Seamus Callinan and Eoin Kelly were sprung from the bench their efforts helped underpin the victory.
Burke struck his team’s second goal while Kelly helped himself to three points thus cementing Tipperary’s strength in depth while skipper Paul Curran and goalkeeper Brendan Cummins, along with Michael Maher, were outstanding in defence.
Lar Corbett’s return to top form proved another plus-factor against a Waterford side that remained in the hunt for an hour before losing their way in the last 10 minutes.
Cork and Limerick meanwhile triumphed in their All-Ireland hurling qualifier ties against Wexford and Clare respectively.
Two goals from Luke Farrell and another from goalkeeper Anthony Nash, via a penalty, underpinned Cork’s 3-24 to 2-17 win over a Wexford side for whom Diarmuid Lyng and Garret Sinnott landed goals.
Cork always looked to have the edge though, their ability to take points from all angles and distances proving crucial.
Limerick came out on top against Clare, their 3-18 to 1-20 victory highlighted by some brilliant individual performances.
Declan Hannon, Wayne McNamara and Sean Tobin scored Limerick’s goals while Shane Dowling helped himself to eight points from frees and play with Niall Moran contributing five.
Clare remained in touch for the greater part of the game, Tony Kelly’s goal providing them with an early spur.
Conor McGrath (0-6) and Nicky O’Connell (0-4) collected half their team’s points total and but for some missed chances, the outcome might have been closer.