Munster SHC final: proud Premier wallop Waterford

July 10, 2016

Waterford's Michael Walsh and Dan McCormack of Tipperary.
©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.

John McGrath netted a hat-trick in Limerick as Tipperary crushed Waterford by 21 points in the 2016 Munster senior hurling final, 5-19 to 0-13.

McGrath finished the match with 3-2 to his credit but Seamus Callanan registered even more - 1-11 - as the Premier County collected their 42nd provincial crown and a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

While it was a great day for Tipp, this was a reality check for Na Deise, whose defensive system malfunctioned completely. They only managed five points in the second half and are going to struggle to pick themselves up for an All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Wexford in a fortnight's time.

There were just two points between the teams at the interval but the second period was a procession for Michael Ryan's men in the rain of the Gaelic Grounds.

Five Callanan frees and a ninth-minute McGrath major had the Premier County ahead by 1-7 to 0-8 at the end of an underwhelming first half, which featured ten wides from Derek McGrath's rudderless men, most of them from scorable positions.

Patrick Curran fired Na Deise ahead inside twelve seconds and Austin Gleeson chipped over a trademark sideline cut from the left before Callanan opened Tipp's account from a free. Pauric Mahony and Michael Breen traded scores before the former knocked over a soft free to make it double scores after eight minutes, 0-4 to 0-2.

But an error from Waterford goalkeeper Stephen O'Keeffe presented Tipp with the first goal of the game. The Deise goalie made a routine save from John McGrath but failed to hold onto the sliothar, instead directing it straight back to McGrath, who couldn't miss with an empty net beckoning.

A brace of Mahony frees restored Waterford's lead and Gleeson majestically fired over another sideline cut from outside the '65' before Padraic Maher replied with a lovely finish. A second converted Callanan free ensured that the teams were level at the midway stage in the first half, 1-4 to 0-7.

A series of poor Waterford misses pre-empted the lead point for Tipp from another Callanan free (a lead that would not be relinquished) and another tidy Callanan finish on 25 minutes made it 1-6 to 0-7. Between them, goal-scorer McGrath and Patrick Bonnar Maher somehow conspired to spurn a terrific Tipp goal chance, which jittery Waterford somehow kept out. Shane Bennett hit the Suirsiders' seventh wide eight minutes from the break.

Callanan's third successive pointed free into the breeze left three between the teams with four minutes left before the break and Mahony uncharacteristically missed a couple of frees at the other end before popping over his team's first score in 20 minutes on the stroke of half time (free). Wides at both ends drew a thoroughly disappointing first half to its conclusion with points from play scarcer than hen's teeth.

Curran was even quicker off the mark at the start of the second half - eight seconds - but Tipp (now with the wind behind them) had points from Callanan (2) and Noel McGrath before John McGrath kicked the sliothar to the Waterford net from close range in the 41st minute - 2-10 to 0-10. Bonnar Maher left seven points between them. Mahony had clipped over his sixth point prior to McGrath's second major but he missed a straightforward free before Michael Breen took a pass from McGrath and hammered to the net in the 44th minute to make it double scores, 3-11 to 0-10.

In the eleventh minute of the second half, the winners were awarded a soft penalty when Barry Coughlan (yellow) was adjudged to have fouled Callanan; McGrath completed his hat-trick in the 48th minute as O'Keeffe could only deflect his low shot into the roof of the net. The gap was now 13 points.

Man of the Match McGrath brought his tally to 3-1 and Waterford's thoughts were already turning to the imminent All-Ireland quarter-final against the Model County as they called ashore both Gleeson and the anonymous Maurice Shanahan for the last 15 minutes.

Callanan knocked over a brace of frees and his eleventh point came from open play after Curran converted a Waterford free - 4-16 to 0-11 with less than ten minutes left.

McGrath marked his third senior championship appearance with a second point three minutes from time; Curran's free at the other end raised not a cheer. In the 69th minute, Callanan drilled his 24th championship goal to the bottom right corner to extend the margin to an astonishing 20 points.

Substitutes Jason Forde and Aidan McCormack replied to an injury-time Curran free as Tipp coasted over the winning line with an incredible second-half return of 4-12.

Tipperary - D Gleeson; C Barrett, J Barry, M Cahill; S Kennedy, R Maher, Padraic Maher (0-1); B Maher, M Breen (1-1); D McCormack, Patrick Maher (0-1), N McGrath (0-1); J McGrath (3-2, 1-0pen), S Callanan (1-11, 0-8f, 0-1'65), N O'Meara. Subs: J Forde (0-1) for N O'Meara, S Curran for D McCormack, K Bergin for B Maher, A McCormack (0-1) for N McGrath, D Maher for R Maher.

Waterford - S O'Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; Philip Mahony, T de Burca, D Fives; J Barron, K Moran; S Bennett, Pauric Mahony (0-6, 4f), M Walsh; M Shanahan, P Curran (0-5, 3f), A Gleeson (0-2sl). Subs: T Devine for M Shanahan, J Dillon for M Walsh, C Dunford for A Gleeson, C Gleeson for N Connors, B O'Halloran for Pauric Mahony.

Referee - B Gavin.

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