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All-Ireland SHC semi-final: Tipp through to decider

15 August 2010

Waterford's Shane O'Sullivan chases Noel McGrath of Tipperary during the All-Ireland SHC semi-final at Croke Park - INPHO
Tipperary produced a commanding performance to defeat Waterford by 3-19 to 1-18 at Croke Park.

Eoin Kelly was the two-goal hero for the winners, who march through to a repeat of last year's decider against Kilkenny whilst sending the Munster champions packing.

Lar Corbett's 23rd minute goal and four minors from Noel McGrath propelled Tipperary into a comfortable six-point half time lead, 1-10 to 0-7, with 1-9 of that Tipp tally coming from play.

Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald sprung a surprise before throw-in by naming 19-year-old Brian O'Halloran at top of the left in place of the experienced Seamus Prendergast. Prendergast had been selected in the starting XV yesterday but the Decies boss opted to take a gamble on the pacy O'Halloran, handing him his first championship start.

There was glorious sunshine at GAA HQ as the Munster rivals paraded around the pitch before throw-in and the sense of excited anticipation increased to fever pitch before the action got underway.

After an early Tipp wide, Waterford midfielder Richie Foley opened the scoring with a fine point inside the first minute. Noel McGrath got Tipp's first score on three minutes and John O'Brien followed up with an impressive Premier County score on four minutes.

The sides were level again when Waterford's Eoin Kelly popped over a free but McGrath had Tipperary back in front immediately. The points were coming like clockwork on the minute and John Mullane scored on the seventh to make it 0-3 each.

Mullane picked up a yellow card in the eleventh minute for a high tackle. McGrath was on fire and he arrowed over his third point from out the field to make it 0-4 to 0-3 after 13. Within seconds, Kevin Moran demonstrated tremendous skill and agility to tie the scores up for the fourth time.

Tipp's Eoin Kelly tapped over a soft free to restore the Premier County's lead after his namesake had surprisingly fired a free wide into the old Canal End. The superb Mullane was on hand to bang over the tenth point of the match in the 17th minute: 0-5 apiece.

Current All Star midfielder Shane McGrath and O'Brien struck to put two between them for the first time and Davy Fitz abandoned his gamble on O'Halloran after just 21 minutes, replacing the youngster with Seamus Prendergast.

In the 23rd minute, Corbett beat Liam Lawlor to a high delivery and fired the sliothar to the net to put daylight between the teams: 1-7 to 0-5.

Eoin Kelly replied from a Waterford free but a great O'Brien point in the 27th minute followed by one from Prendergast at the other end made it 1-8 to 0-7. The Decies weren't exactly wide awake as Tipp continued to catch them out with short puck-outs. Kelly's free in the 31st minute closed the gap to three but the outstanding Noel McGrath floated over his fourth point of the match on 33 to leave Tipp in a strong position with half time approaching.

Tipp's Kelly stretched the gap in the last minute of first-half normal time and Corbett tapped over another one in injury time to give Liam Sheedy's men a comfortable six-point interval advantage.

Tony Browne fired over a trademark long-range free in the first minute of the second half to reduce the arrears and Kelly reduced the gap further from a free after six scoreless minutes. O'Brien's fourth point of the game made it 1-12 to 0-10 after 42 minutes.

Tipp had faded and Mullane dropped over a nice score to bring it back to a four-point game. A Kelly free on 46 minutes had the six-point half-time differential down to a more-manageable three. Seamus Callanan entered the fray on 49 minutes, just after Eoin Kelly (free) had restored Tipp's four-point cushion. In the 52st minute, Corbett made it 1-14 to 0-12 and the Munster champions responded by introducing Ken McGrath for the final quarter or so.

But Kelly slammed the ball unchallenged to the Waterford net on the stroke of 52 minutes to effectively finish the game as a meaningful contest: 2-14 to 0-12. Waterford replied with a Ken McGrath free and the introduction of Dan Shanahan.

Stephen Molumphy, Tipp's Kelly, Noel McGrath and Ken McGrath were all on trget before the Tipp full forward netted his second - and his team's third - major to make it 3-16 to 0-15 with an hour played. Brendan Cummins saved brilliantly from Mullane and Browne dropped the 65 over the bar: 3-16 to 0-16 in the 62nd minute.

Browne sent another 65 between the posts and O'Brien replied with his fifth of the day. Kelly flicked over another free and the Decies had a late goal from substitute Eoin McGrath followed by a last-gasp Ken McGrath point as the Munster championship winners exited the championship race at the penultimate hurdle.

There was time for O'Brien to bag his sixth point from play deep into injury time as Tipperary set up a repeat of the 2009 All-Ireland final with seven points to spare.

Tipperary: Brendan Cummins; Paddy Stapleton, Paul Curran, Michael Cahill; Declan Fanning, Conor OMahony, Padraic Maher; Brendan Maher, Shane McGrath (0-1); Gearóid Ryan, Patrick Maher, John O'Brien (0-6); Noel McGrath (0-5), Eoin Kelly (2-5), Lar Corbett (1-2). Subs: Seamus Callanan, Pa Bourke.

Waterford: Clinton Hennessy; Eoin Murphy, Liam Lawlor, Noel Connors; Tony Browne (0-3), Michael Walsh, Declan Prendergast; Shane O'Sullivan, Richie Foley (0-1); Kevin Moran (0-1), Stephen Molumphy (0-1), Eoin Kelly (0-5); John Mullane (0-3), Shane Walsh, Brian O'Halloran. Subs: Seamus Prendergast (0-1), Ken McGrath (0-3), Tommy Ryan, Eoin McGrath (1-0).






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