Waterford and Tipperary secure places in All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship semi-finals at revamped Pairc Ui Chaoimh
All-Ireland SHC quarter-final: Waterford 1-23 Wexford 1-19
WATERFORD manager Derek McGrath Inset) was forced to go to extreme lengths to take his mind off yesterday’s All-Ireland quarter-final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The Decies never trailed at any stage against Wexford, but the potential cost of defeat meant he felt under pressure beforehand.
“I was terrified, yeah, nervous,” he said.
“I couldn’t even watch the Tipp-Clare game, just watched bits of it, had the commentary turned down. I was watching the golf in between and I hate golf. I was switching on the golf because I didn’t want to hear what was being said, especially when they were previewing our game.
“I was saying ‘I know what’s coming’ to keep myself in good form. My youngest son was four yesterday, so we went in to Rocket Joe’s and had a burger after the game yesterday... I can’t remember the question…”
A big question Waterford will face ahead of the semi-final is how to deal with the potential loss of Tadhg de Búrca for the semi-final which could be costly.
The Decies’ sweeper was sent off with four minutes of normal time remaining and his side leading by six points, seemingly for interfering with Harry Kehoe’s faceguard. His manager Derek McGrath said he didn’t see the incident and endorsed de Búrca’s character but did concede that his absence for the last-four clash would be strongly felt.
The pity is that is wasn’t needed as Waterford’s progression to a third straight All-Ireland semi-final never really looked in doubt. While the sides were level at 0-1 and 0-2 each, Wexford never came closer than within a point thereafter and Kevin Moran’s goal in first-half injury time ensured that it was 1-12 to 0-10 for Derek McGrath’s side.
Captain Moran finished with 1-3 to his name while Pauric Mahony was flawless from frees, scoring eight.
In the first half, Austin Gleeson didn’t impact the game the way he is capable of, but he came to the fore in the second half when Waterford needed inspiration.
The Model county’s Liam Ryan, Rory O’Connor and Lee Chin all had points as Waterford struggled to get going again.
After 11 scoreless minutes, Mahony added a pair of frees before Gleeson landed a free from 45 metres.
Jack O’Connor replied to cut the gap to four but then came the point of the game from Gleeson.
Jack Guiney’s frees continued to go over and wing-back Diarmuid O’Keeffe landed his second but Waterford were always able to respond, though Moran, Shanahan and Mahony.
Another Waterford sub, Brian O’Halloran, made his presence felt in injury time, getting the insurance points to make it 1-23 to 0-19. Guiney did have a late pointed free, his sixth, and at the very death another dead ball of his was blocked with Jack O’Connor poking home the rebound.
Afterwards, Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald responded to criticism from RTÉ pundits regarding the use of the sweeper system.
“Let me say this straight out, Michael Duignan and Henry have never managed a team at a high level,” he said.
“The people need to wake up so they do. If they want the same one or two teams to play hurling and be successful that’s fine. Myself and Derek are trying to bring teams to the fore that haven’t been to the fore in a long time.”
Waterford: S O’Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; D Fives (0-1), C Gleeson, Philip Mahony; J Barron, K Moran (1-3); M Walsh (0-1), A Gleeson (0-3, 0-1 free), Pauric Mahony (0-9 frees); T de Búrca, J Dillon (0-1), Shane Bennett.
Subs: M Shanahan (0-2) for Dillon (45), B O’Halloran (0-2) for Shane Bennett (46), Stephen Bennett for Walsh (54), C Dunford for Barron (62), T Ryan for Pauric Mahony (70).
Wexford: M Fanning; W Devereux, L Ryan (0-1), J Breen; E Moore (0-1), M O’Hanlon, D O’Keeffe (0-2); L Chin (0-3, 0-2 frees), D Redmond; R O’Connor (0-1), C McDonald (0-1), P Morris (0-1); P Doran, J Guiney (0-6 frees), S Murphy.
Subs: A Nolan (0-1) for Redmond (28), J O’Connor (1-2) for Morris (41), H Kehoe for McDonald (59), S Tomkins for Doran (64).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary)
All-Ireland SHC quarter-final: Tipperary 0-28 Clare 3-16
STANDING in the media room of the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh as a victorious manager, it was perhaps easy for Tipperary boss Michael Ryan to give credit to Clare for scoring three goals against his side.
However, Ryan will also know that continuing problems with his full-back line will have to be ironed out before an All-Ireland semi-final against Galway.
Tipp prevailed thanks to the sharpshooting of Séamus Callanan and Noel and John McGrath, but Ryan is keen for the defensive issues to be ironed out.
“You’ve got to credit the forwards,” he said.
“The second goal in particular was a super catch by Shane O’Donnell. And once you are in control of the sliotar, you have the advantage on your man. By the time Shane came down, he’s very fleet-footed, and he turned in immediately and off-loaded it before it was finished. They were quality goals.
“Does it test the full-back line? Absolutely it does. And it rattles you. It rattles. There is great credit due to those defenders because you have got to pick yourself up.”
Two goals from Aaron Cunningham in the space of a first-half minute brought Clare level after Tipp had started well, but by and large the Banner attack wasn’t functioning and the All-Ireland champions were good value for a 0-16 to 2-5 half-time lead.
Callanan, expertly picked out by John O’Dwyer, almost had a goal early in the second half but, while a pair of Tony Kelly frees kept Clare in touch for a time, Tipp eased clear. They were 0-23 to 2-10 in front after Patrick Maher’s third point but Clare dug deep and Kelly, sub David Reidy (two), Colm Galvin, Peter Duggan and Conor McGrath with a great individual point brought them to within one.
The equaliser would not materialise, however. A close-range free from O’Dwyer and a booming effort from Brendan Maher established daylight again for Tipp and they were six ahead deep in injury time, meaning that Cathal McInerney’s goal for Clare at the death had not material effect.
Tipp move on with work to do, Ryan pleased to have achieved the primary goal for the day.
“We were doing lots of things well, I thought we got into the game from the off,” he said.
“We put up an overall decent tally of points. But look, the overriding feeling here is total relief to have got through.”
Clare joint-manager Donal Moloney agreed that a tally of 18 wides was something they would look back on and he felt that there were positives to take.
“They’re a lot of the regrets but we have an awful lot to be positive about as well, it’s about getting the balance right,” he said.
Tipperary: D Mooney; D Maher, T Hamill, J Barry; S Kennedy (0-1), R Maher, Pádraic Maher; B Maher (0-1 free), M Breen (0-1); N McGrath (0-4), Patrick Maher (0-3), D McCormack; J McGrath (0-6), S Callanan (0-7, 0-3 free), J O’Dwyer (0-3, 0-1 free).
Subs: Seán O’Brien for Barry (45), J Forde (0-1) for Breen (61), N O’Meara for O’Dwyer (68), Steven O’Brien (0-1) for Callanan (70).
Clare: A Fahy; C Dillon, P O’Connor, S Morey; D Fitzgerald, C Cleary, J Shanahan (0-1); C Galvin (0-1), T Kelly (0-6, 0-4 frees); C Malone, P Collins, J Conlon; S O’Donnell (0-2), A Cunningham (2-0), C McGrath (0-2).
Subs: P Duggan (0-1) for Conlon (33), D Reidy (0-2 frees) for Collins (52), C McInerney (1-1) for Malone (57), J McCarthy for Kelly (67)
Referee: C Lyons (Cork)