All-Ireland SHC: Waterford shock Tipp to book final spot

17 August 2008

Waterford’s Eoin Kelly celebrates his second half goal as the Deise saw off Tipperary to reach the All-Ireland SHC final
Waterford 1-20
Tipperary 1-18

Waterford’s dramatic Championship crusade hit another gear on Sunday as they overcame the odds at Croke Park to defeat Tipperary by two points and march into their first All-Ireland decider in 45 years.

Eoin Kelly was rampant in his 1-10 tally for the Deise, which ultimately hauled Waterford through here as Tipp did have the answer to the full-forward’s goal with a major of their own seconds later but not to his deadly ability to pick off points at will, which he did right to the very end.

The Premier County’s very own Eoin Kelly outscored his namesake in the first-half by a single white flag to assure his side that they’d be level at the break after Waterford’s stirring display in the first ten minutes saw them get six up on Munster Champions without reply.

The teams traded scores in the opening stages of the restart to keep them always within a score of each other right up till the final quarter where Kelly found the net to put Waterford ahead by two but within sixty seconds Seamus Callinan was raising the umpire’s green flag at the other end, putting Tipp back in front by the minimum margin.

From there it looked as though Liam Sheedy’s charges should have been on their way to booking a spot on the big stage alongside Kilkenny next month, but instead Waterford had the perfect answer to glorious chances missed by Lar Corbett, Pat Kerwick and Eoin Kelly.

Singles from Michael ’Brick’ Walsh, Jack Kennedy, and three (two frees) off Eoin Kelly’s stick saw Davy Fitzgerald’s men overcome Tipperary by two points for a coveted victory over a side who had been undefeated in 2008 up till now, and, more importantly, setup a historic date with Brian Cody’s Black Cats on September 7.

Waterford flew out of the traps from the very start at Croke Park with Eoin Kelly (two frees), John Mullane (two), Stephen Molumphy and Eoin McGrath all pointing without reply to signal their early intent in what unravelled as a thrilling encounter.

A Conor O’Mahony free in between Eoin Kelly’s two successful placed balls in front of goal were the replies for Tipp, which halved the gap after a quarter of an hour.

The two sides continued to swap scores back and forth until the Premier County began to hit back with an edge that saw them eventually draw level on 0-10 a piece for the interval with Tipp’s Eoin Kelly grabbing six points to his namesake’s 0-5 tally.

Within two minutes of the restart Eoin McGrath had won a free for the Deise County, which suited Kelly to put his side back in front, but Shane Maher was quick to level the game for the third time on the 40-minute mark for his side.

Tipperary gained the lead for the first time in the match through Shane McGrath moments later, and when Lar Corbett released Eoin Kelly for his seventh the Munster Champions were two in front.

A Kelly free along with scores from Mullane and Michael Walsh helped Waterford get back level at 0-14, but the Premier men remained determined to distance themselves as McGrath and Corbett both found their range and re-established a two-point advantage before Stephen Molumphy cut it back to one.

On 56 minutes it looked as though the game’s turning point had came for Waterford when a one handed thrust off Dan Shanahan’s hurley directed possession towards a lurking Eoin Kelly on the edge of the square and the ace attacker netted at the second time of asking, after initially being denied by a brave save from Brendan Cummins in the Tipperary goal.

However, less than a minute later Seamus Callinan capitalised on a lapse in Tipp’s defence to net low beyond Clinton Hennessy and restore the lead for his county.

The game’s second goal came as a real sucker-punch to the Deise but they can be thankful that Tipperary didn’t take their place in the final from there. Three chances went a begging and it was Davy Fitzgerald’s troops who would counter.

In the closing ten minutes Waterford saw off a two point deficit by hitting five points and conceding one with Kelly truly coming to the fore, landing three, along side Walsh and Kennedy’s singles for the Deise to deservedly take their place in a first All-Ireland final in almost half a century.

Waterford - C Hennessy; E Murphy, K McGrath, D Prendergast; A Kearney, T Browne, K Moran; M Walsh (0-2), J Nagle; D Shanahan, S Prendergast, S Molumphy (0-2); E McGrath (0-2), E Kelly (1-10, 8f), J Mullane (0-3). Subs: J Kennedy (0-1) for S Prendergast (52), P Flynn for Mullane (67), G Hurney for Nagle (69), S O’Sullivan for Shanahan (70).

Tipperary - B Cummins; E Buckley, P Curran, C O’Brien; E Corcoran, C O’Mahony (0-1, 1f), S Maher (0-1); J Woodlock, S McGrath (0-3); S Callinan (1-2), H Maloney, J O’Brien; E Kelly (0-8, 6f), S Butler, L Corbett (0-1). Subs: P Stapleton for Corcoran (42, blood sub), M Webster for Butler (43), B Dunne (0-01) for O’Brien (49), P Kerwick (0-01) for Maloney (58), P Bourke for Woodlock (64).

Ref: D Kirwan (Cork)