The Tipperary under-20 back room team pictured with manager Liam Cahill.
Tipperary cruised into the final of the Bord Gáis Energy Munster Under-20 Hurling Championship thanks to a 22-point semi-final win over Waterford at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Tuesday evening. The Premier County will be reasonably pleased with the quality of their performance, but there was a massive caveat associated with this result - the Waterford team were poor and at times very poor.
Bord Gáis Energy Munster Under-20
Hurling Championship Semi-Final
Tipperary 3-23 Waterford 0-10
Tipperary led 0-11 to 0-5 at the break. Waterford had only managed one score from play in the first half and if they were wondering whether matters could get any worse for them they got their answer during the opening seven minutes of the second half when Conor Bowe banged home two goals for the Premier County in front of 3,631 paying spectators. It was time now for the Déise lads to buy a crash helmet as this miss-match sauntered toward an inevitable conclusion.
There was lots to be encouraged about here though from a Tipperary point of view - man of the match Billy Seymour performed his ball-winning role to terrific effect up front while the half-back line of Ciarán Connolly, Bryan O’Meara and Eoghan Connolly dominated the air in terrific style. Craig Morgan showed flashes of his undoubted ability as did Jake Morris, Conor Bowe and Jerome Cahill while Tipperary’s use of the ball, for the most part, was considered and encouraging. Greater tests, however, lie ahead for the side managed by Liam Cahill who are also now through to the All-Ireland semi-finals by virtue of this win.
The Bord Gáis Energy Munster Under-20 Hurling Championship final is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, July 23 against Cork or Clare - their respective semi-final is fixed for Wednesday evening, July 10.
Both sides opted to play two on the inside line from the off with captain Craig Morgan employed as the free man in the Tipperary back line.
The sides fired five wides (Tipperary three) before Jake Morris drilled a free over the bar from just outside the opposition 65-yard line (and into the wind) in the sixth minute. Within seconds Billy Power responded with a placed ball for Waterford and the sides were level. The home side coughed up another free in the eighth minute and the Déise led by one, but Jake Morris shipped a mean belt in the tenth minute before landing an awkward free to tie the game.
The game made for a poor spectacle thus far, but a Billy Seymour catch and assist for a Joe Fogarty effort brightened matters somewhat in the 14th minute (0-3 to 0-2) - the Fogarty strike represented the first point scored from play on the evening.
Two Waterford players had already been cautioned by the time Jake Morris swung over his third free of the contest in the 15th minute. Seán Hayes notched a point from play soon after and Tipp led by three.
Jake Morris saw a goal chance parried by ‘keeper Dean Beecher in the 17th minute and the Waterford team looked reasonably distressed as Tipperary began to show flashes of what we know this team is capable of. Indeed, the ability of the Tipperary half-backs and spare man Craig Morgan to dominate the aerial contest was noteworthy.
Another Morris free in the 22nd minute opened a four-point gap before a terrific grab from Ciarán Connolly preceded a long-range effort from Conor Bowe (0-7 to 0-2).
Billy Power converted his third free in the 25th minute, but the Déise must have been concerned by their inability to score from play - conversely Gearóid O’Connor clipped over a smasher off his left on the run from long-range to illustrate the gap in quality between the sides. Billy Seymour then set up a beauty for Jake Morris in the 26th minute to extend the home side’s lead to six.
Waterford’s Billy Power reeled Tipp in with a converted free in the 28th minute before James Power notched his side’s first point from play (0-9 to 0-5) in the 29th.
The visitors then committed a third cautionable offence and Jake Morris punished Waterford accordingly to leave five between the sides before Tipperary’s outstanding player, Billy Seymour, was fouled for yet another free which Morris tapped over (0-11 to 0-5); four Déise players had now found their way into referee Johnny Murphy’s book.
Tipperary led by six at the break and this contest already had all the look of a procession about it.
A brace of Jake Morris frees opened Tipperary’s second half account before Billy Power (free) responded for Waterford. Jake Morris (free) kept Tipp moving in the right direction before adding another from play in the 35th minute (0-15 to 0-6).
Although a Billy Power free reduced the deficit faced by Waterford to eight points you felt that the Déise already needed to do something drastic in order to force themselves into this contest. It was Tipperary, however, who squeezed on the accelerator when Jerome Cahill picked out the completely unmarked Conor Bowe inside the Waterford 21-yard line. The Moyne-Templetuohy man stepped around the advancing ‘keeper and buried a smashing goal in the 36th minute. Bowe struck for another three-pointer in the 37th minute when he shorted beautifully and beat Dean Beecher at his near post (2-15 to 0-7).
Ian Beecher went for goal in the 39th minute, but Aaron Browne saved superbly before Tipperary cleared their lines. Another Billy Power free added to the Waterford tally in the 41st minute, but anything that the visitors had to offer already looked token in nature.
Jake Morris converted a free before Billy Seymour set up Joe Fogarty for a cracking goal in the 45th - the Moneygall man wrong-footed the Waterford goalkeeper before delivering a composed finish into the bottom right-hand corner (3-16 to 0-8).
Jake Morris landed another free before Billy Seymour successfully took responsibility for the placed balls after the Nenagh Éire Óg man was withdrawn alongside fellow senior panellists Jerome Cahill and Paddy Cadell. Seymour and Conor Bowe soon added points from play and Tipperary led 3-20 to 0-8.
Andrew Ormond found the Waterford crossbar with an ambitious effort in the 52nd minute while Billy Power drilled over his eighth pointed free - Waterford had only scored one point from play by this juncture, but Tom Barron corrected this prevailing pattern in the 58th minute after Billy Seymour added a free for Tipp.
Then it was the turn of Andrew Ormond and Billy Seymour (free) to score for an utterly dominant Tipperary side.
Tipperary: Aaron Browne (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams), Craig Morgan (Kilruane MacDonagh’s, captain), Michael Purcell (Thurles Sarsfields), Conor McCarthy (Nenagh Éire Óg), Ciarán Connolly (Loughmore-Castleiney), Bryan O'Mara (Holycross-Ballycahill), Eoghan Connolly (Cashel King Cormacs), Paddy Cadell (JK Bracken’s), Jerome Cahill (Kilruane MacDonagh’s), Gearóid O'Connor (Moyne-Templetuohy, 0-1), Joe Fogarty (Moneygall, 1-1), Conor Bowe (Moyne-Templetuohy, 2-2), Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg, 0-13, 0-11 frees), Billy Seymour (Kiladangan, 0-4, 0-3 frees), Seán Hayes (Kiladangan, 0-1). Subs: (47th) Kian O’Kelly (Kilruane MacDonagh’s) for Seán Hayes, (48th) Johnny Ryan (Arravale Rovers) for Jerome Cahill, (49th) Andrew Ormond (JK Bracken’s, 0-1) for Jake Morris, (50th) Niall Heffernan (Golden-Kilfeacle) for Paddy Cadell, (53rd) Devon Ryan (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams) for Gearóid O’Connor.
Waterford: Dean Beecher, Sam Fitzgerald, James Flavin, Tom Looby, Dan Booth, Iarlaith Daly, Brian Lynch, Billy Power (0-8, 0-8 frees), Seán Whelan-Barrett, Tom Barron (0-1), Ian Beecher, Gavin Fives, Oisín Ó Ceallaigh, Michael Kiely, James Power (0-1). Subs: (21st) Martín Power for Brian Lynch (temporary blood sub - reversed 24th minute), (39th) Tadhg Foley for Sam Fitzgerald, (42nd) Eoin O’Reilly for Seán Whelan-Barrett, (45th) Mark Twomey for Oisín Ó Ceallaigh, (46th) Martín Power for Dan Booth, (55th) Liam O’Brien for Iarlaith Daly.
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).
The Tipperary under-20 management team pictured back row from left: TJ Ryan (selector), Tommy Ryan (strength & conditioning coach), Liam Cahill (manager), Seán Corbett (selector), Kevin O'Sullivan (goalkeeping coach) and Michael Bevans (coach-selector). Front row from left: Paddy Julian (physio) and John Durnan (kitman).
To keep up to date with all the sporting news in Tipperary please click here - to follow the Tipperary Star sports team on twitter please click here - to follow sports editor Brian McDonnell on Twitter please click here. Alternatively, you can also like the Tipperary Star on Facebook.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.