Wednesday, 21st February 2018
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Second defeat for hurlers

With both Waterford and Tipperary suffering defeat in the opening round of the Allianz National Hurling league, it was important for both counties that they conjure up a win in Semple Stadium Thurles on Saturday evening. Both managers Derek McGrath and his Tipperary counterpart Michael Ryan had made changes in their starting fifteen with the Waterford bainisteoir bringing in eleven fresh faces following that first round defeat to Wexford. Likewise the Tipperary manager made seven changes following their defeat to Clare. Both management committees saw this as an ideal opportunity to give the extended panel a chance of cementing a place in future starting lineups. Waterford and Tipperary can be a huge attraction and over six thousand patrons trundled up to the famed Premier venue for this encounter.

The opening few minutes saw a point apiece from Patrick Curran and John McGrath. The hosts edged ahead in the 7th minute as former corner back Michael Breen, now positioned in the full forward line, got his first point. The Ballina clubman is a real Mr Versatility as he also featured in midfield for his county. There were periods when the play was scrappy enough with both teams missing scoring chances but Tipperary edged three ahead as Jason Forde and sub Paul Shanahan hit the target. A foul on Austin Gleeson, who had a commanding game at centre back before an injury made him leave the field in the second half, and Patrick Curran converted. On fifteen minutes DJ Foran added a point after a superb catch and a minute later Curran tied the game with a 20 metre free.

Again the scoring chances fell by the wayside before Mikey Kearney put the Deise in front with a point in the 20th minute having being put through by Stephen Bennett. Three wides from Tiperary through Brendan Maher and Noel McGrath slipped by before Peter Hogan also missed a scoring opportunity. On 25 minutes Austin Gleeson opened the way for Mikey Kearney to hit another superb point 0-6 to 0-4. A brace of scores from Jason Forde saw Tipperary back level on 28 minutes before Kearney and Colin Dunford combined for the former to point Waterford back in front. There was little to seperate the sides although Waterford back two in front with the second a magnificent effort from Austin Gleeson. On 35 minutes Brian O'Halloran put the visitors three ahead 0-10 to 0-7 but in additional time Paudie Maher sent Sean Curran in for a Tipperary point and right before the whistle Jason Forde intercepted a short puck out from Stephen O'Keeffe. Half time Waterford ahead 0-98 to

0-8 and Derek McGrath and his management could feel reasonably happy.

On the turnover Waterford goalkeeper Stephen O'Keeffe was called into action to save from Paudie Feehan from which Jason Forde converted the resultant 65 metre free to level. The Tipperary man then added another and the lead for Tipperary before Waterford forward Stephen Bennett escaped the Premier defence in the 42nd minute but a superb save from Paudie Maher averted the danger. Noel McGrath and Forde added a brace of points and Tipperary saw their lead out to three points. Patrick Curran was off target with a free in the 46th minute but within sixty seconds the Tipperary defence was breached. Mikey Kearney, Kevin Moran and Patrick Curran all combined to set Mark O'Brien free and the Ferrybank clubman rattled the net to bring the Deise back level 1-10 to 0-13.

However, the lead only lasted a minute as Michael Breen collected the ball in front of goal and was fouled by Ian Kenny. Referee Colm Lyons had no hesitation and Jason Forde dispatched the ball past Stephen O'Keeffe from the resultant penalty. Tipperary back three in front 1-14 to 1-10.

In the 51st minute Noel McGrath placed Sean Curran for a point to extend the lead as Stephen O'Keeffe again came to the rescue of Waterford with a superb save. Brendan and Ronan Maher added points for the home side as managers Derek McGrath and Michael Ryan began to make the changes.

Despite both teams missing scoring chances it was Tipperary who edged further ahead from Ronan Maher and Jason Forde points 1-18 to 1-10. Waterford were struggling to hit the target. Thurles clubman Ronan Maher added another point in the 66th minute 1-19 to 1-10. Finally Waterford did add to their goal in the second half as Substitute Jamie Barron collected from Mikey Kearney and pointed. The final score in a disappointing game came from midfield as Ronan Maher brought up point number twenty for the Premier county and saw them comfortably over the line on a 1-20 to 1-11 scoreline.

No doubt the loss of Austin Gleeson was a huge blow to the Waterford camp but I would also add that the Deise created chances which they let slip by. No doubt Derek and the management team will be working hard on this before the visit of Kilkenny next Sunday week. Also the management will be delighted to have been able to give a number of players the experience of National League hurling but they will also be more than aware that games can so easily slip past.

PRENDERGAST LEADS ARDMORE TO PROMISED LAND

As Ardmore captain Declan Prendergast lifted the cup on the steps of Croke Park on Sunday last it brought to a conclusion a year of dedication and hard work for the club as they captured the All-Ireland Junior Hurling title at the expense of Wexford champions St Mogues on a 3-11 to 0-18 scoreline. The team from the "Big Strand" had completed the treble, having both the Waterford and Munster titles already sitting at home on the sideboard. this has been a wonderful year for the club and the win has broken the mould for Waterford clubs as it is the first time a Waterford club has lifted the competition, Ballysaggart having been beaten in the final of 2014 by Creggan Kickhams.

Ardmore through former intercounty star Seamus prendergast were first on the board with an opening point. The Wexford side however through the efforts of Mark Wallace landed some superb scores and led 0-3 to 0-1 when again Prendergast did the damage with a fine goal. Despite some scoring opportunities slipping by Ardmore led 1-4 to 06 at the break with all to play for. The opening minutes of the second half saw both teams strive to gain the upper hand and Ardmore through John Gartland bagged goal number two after eight minutes 2-5 to 0-7. Through the efforts of Mark Wallace Mogues got to within a solitary point and when Hugh Garrett landed the leveller in the 50th minute the momentum had swung towards the Slaneysiders. The action flowed to and fro although Ardmore were probably carving out scoring chances and not finishing them. Their wide count was growing.

St Mogues looked to have secured victory when the aforementioned Wallace landed a point right on sixty minutes (014 to 2-7) but Ardmore through David Gartland had the final say as he levelled in the last minute of the additional time. This game was going to extra time.

Ardmore had three unanswered points at the beginning of extra time from Seamus Prendergast and David Gartland 2-11 to 0-14. However St Mogues were not giving up hope and they continued to chase the game. Half time in the extra period and Ardmore ahead 2-11 to 0-15. The break that the

Waterford champions looked for came in that second period as John Gartland was on hand to clip the ball to the net for his second goal and despite two points at the end for St Mogues the Deise men held out for a famous 3-11 to

0-18 win.

No doubt the club are celebrating tonight and thoroughly deserved. It has been a long hard year but they have got their reward.

FOOTBALLERS BEATEN BY ANTRIM

The Waterford Senior Football team entertained Antrim on Sunday last in Round two of the Allianz National Football League but had to give way to the Saffrons on a 2-12 to 0-10 scoreline. Following a very deserved draw against Wicklow in the opening round there was an expectation among followers that the two points could be kept at home but it was not to be. Antrim who had been very impressive in their opening game against Leitrim

(0-15 to 0-5) were very much aware that could potentially be the "banana skin" of the round but a goal from Ryan Murray saw them ahead 1-6 to 0-5 at the break. A goal from Conor Murray in the second half gave the Saffrons some leeway and they generated the points to see themselves at the top of the division with Laois and Carlow. Next up for Waterford is an away game against Laois and manager Tom McGlinchy will be hoping that the team can get a positive result which would bring them back into the shakeup.

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