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John McGrath celebrates after scoring the decisive goal for Tipperary.

John McGrath celebrates after scoring the decisive goal for Tipperary.

Allianz HL Div 1A: Tipperary finish strongly

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A


By Tomas McCarthy at Walsh Park

All Ireland champions Tipperary grabbed top spot in Division 1A as a second half surge took them past Waterford in a stop start contest at Walsh Park.

The sides were tied on 10 occasions by the halfway stage before a hard working away side seized control with three unanswered points in the third quarter. John McGrath finished off Waterford when he tapped home on the rebound on 58 minutes after Ian O’Regan pulled off a brilliant save from Noel McGrath.

The 2016 All Star hit 1-6 while John O’Dwyer came off the bench to nail five points. Seamus Kennedy, Donagh Maher and Stephen O’Brien also excelled in blue and gold colours. Pauric Mahony scored nine points for the Déise. Tadhg De Burca was Waterford’s tower of strength in the number six slot.

7,344 spectators crammed into the city venue for this Munster final re-enactment.

The teams were deadlocked at five points each after the opening quarter. John McGrath converted two frees and added one from play. Niall O’Meara and Brendan Maher restored parity. Pauric Mahony landed three frees including one from his own 45 metre line. Tom Devine and Michael Kearney contributed one apiece.

On 18 minutes, Shane Bennett whizzed a shot across the face of goal. The even exchanges continued for the rest of the half. The hosts slipped into the lead on four occasions but Tipp pegged them back. Mahony supplied 0-7 (six from placed balls). John O’Dwyer replaced Aidan McCormack, who was closely watched by Noel Connors, and Bubbles nudged the visitors in front on the stroke of half time.

Mahony equalised before Jason Forde struck his second to leave it 0-11 to 0-10 at the break. Austin Gleeson shot four of Waterford’s five wides during the first 35 minutes.

Steven O’Brien established a two point gap on the restart. Gleeson replied with his first on 40 minutes. Michael Ryan’s men took over around the midfield and half back sectors. Kieran Bergin and a O’Dwyer brace sent them 0-15 to 0-11 clear. Mahony intervened from a free.

On 52 minutes, Tadhg De Burca hauled down Stephen O’Brien and Diarmuid Kirwan signalled a penalty. O’Dwyer drilled his shot towards the corner but Ian O’Regan dived across to save. O’Dwyer subsequently pointed a free to restore their four point buffer.

De Burca led Waterford’s challenge from centre back and engineered a free for Mahony to dispatch. With 12 minutes left, O’Regan produced a flying save from sub Noel McGrath but younger brother John was on hand to bat home the rebound.

Darragh Mooney parried away Shane Bennett’s low drive, while James Barry blocked Stephen Bennett’s follow-up effort.

Scorers for Tipperary: J McGrath 1-6 (4fs), J O’Dwyer 0-5 (4fs), J Forde, S O’Brien 0-2 each, B Maher, K Bergin, N O’Meara 0-1 each.

*Scorers for Waterford: *P Mahony 0-9 (8fs), B O’Halloran 0-2, A Gleeson, G O’Brien, T Devine, M Kearney 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: D Mooney; D Maher, J Barry, Joe O’Dwyer; S Kennedy, T Hamill, P Maher; B Maher, K Bergin; D McCormack, J Forde, S O’Brien; A McCormack, J McGrath, N O’Meara.

Subs: John O’Dwyer for A Cormack (28), N McGrath for Forde (51), M Breen for Bergin (55), S Callanan for O’Brien (59), M Cahill for Joe O’Dwyer (63).

WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; C Gleeson, T De Burca, S McNulty; G O’Brien, K Moran; T Devine, M Kearney, P Mahony; Shane Bennett, J Dillon, A Gleeson.

Subs: D Lyons for McNulty (43), Stephen Bennett for Dillon (49), C Dunford for O’Brien (49), M Shanahan for Kearney (62), B O’Halloran for Dunford (63).

REFEREE: D Kirwan (Cork).

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