Tipperary are through to the All-Ireland semifinal, and a date with Kilkenny or Limerick, after comfortably seeing off the Waterford challenge in Sunday’s Munster hurling final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh by a score of 1-13 to 0-15.
Declan Ryan’s team never really produced the goods as they eventually pulled away from the Deise in the second half when a goal from substitute Shane Bourke played a big role in the win.
Defender Conor O’Mahony admitted Tipp were far from their best as Waterford held them to level scores at the interval.
He told the Irish Sun, “The performance was average enough really. Everybody worked hard, but things just didn’t roll as freely as we might have hoped.
“There’s games like that where you just have to work that bit harder to get the result. Fair play to everyone, including the boys who came in, because we dug in and got over the line. We’re delighted with the result.”
O’Mahony was quick to praise supersub Bourke.
He added, “Shane is a fantastic player and has come in there again like he did in the last two games and really opened it up.
“That just goes to show this game is no longer just about the 15 guys who start it. Shane Bourke, Eoin Kelly, Seamie Callanan and Donagh Maher all made a big impression when they came on.”
Tipperary boss Declan Ryan was content with his team’s performance but realistic enough to know there is room for improvement.
“We were delighted when the guys knuckled down in second half and they finished very strongly,” he said.
“It is great to have people like Shane Bourke, Eoin Kelly and Seamie Callinan to bring in. It was a fantastic introduction for Shane today. He stuck one in the back of the net and that is what all forwards like to do.
“The guys showed a lot of character there today even though we were not at our best. They battled away to the end and we finished out the game.”
Waterford now face Cork on Sunday, July 29 in the All-Ireland quarterfinals, with manager Michael Ryan ready to get back to work after a disappointing day on Leeside.
Ryan said, “We’re very disappointed, but Tipperary had that bit of experience, took their chances and fully deserved to win it.
“I’m very proud of our own lads too though. We played some really, really good hurling but maybe didn’t have the run of the ball at times out there.”
GOAL scorer Darran O’Sullivan shrugged off injury problems when he appeared as a second half substitute and emerged as Kerry’s hero in a 2-10 to 1-12 away win to Westmeath in the All-Ireland qualifiers.
O’Sullivan proved the difference after Westmeath had led by six points with half an hour to go in Mullingar.
Kerry boss Jack O’Connor admitted, “You wouldn’t give much for our chances there 10 minutes into the second half, we went six or seven down, facing a strong wind. We had a mountain to climb.
“That was as tight as it gets now. We wouldn’t have got out of there but for Darren O’Sullivan’s goal. We obviously have a lot of room to improve.”
Dejected Westmeath boss Pat Flanagan knows well how close his team came to a big upset.
Flanagan said, “It was an opportunity missed there is no two ways about it, but it was a little bit if inexperience and fatigue as well.
“We put in a huge effort in the first half and didn’t have the legs to keep going at that pace.”
Flanagan and Westmeath were angry with some dubious refereeing decisions on the day, particularly in the build-up to O’Sullivan’s goal when a quick free from Colm Cooper proved crucial.
ANTRIM caused one of the biggest shocks of the season when they knocked a fancied Galway side out of the All-Ireland football qualifiers in Belfast on Saturday by a score of 0-11 to 0-10.
But home team captain Aodhán Gallagher said afterwards that his teammates always believed they could pull off a surprise win.
“We knew coming in we had a great chance,” Gallagher told RTE Radio after a one point win.
“Galway played really well against Roscommon, but we looked at how they played against Sligo and we thought that this was a team we could get at.”
With Tipperary next up in the qualifiers, Gallagher is looking to build on the win over Galway.
He added, “We knew from the beginning that we were very strong, and we have proved over the last few years that we are there or thereabouts.
“It’s about time we delivered on that, and hopefully we showed today that we are nearly there. Games like this are what make the GAA the thing that it is. There are 34 teams and anybody can beat anybody.”
FIRST half goals from Colm Kelly and Brendan Quigley proved decisive as Laois beat Monaghan by six points to advance to the next round of the All-Ireland qualifiers and a trip to play Leitrim.
In contrast, Monaghan boss Eamon McEneaney quit his role after the game.