Eoin Kelly: Tipperary’s intensity has left Waterford staring at the exit door

The Premier County legend feels his county’s 18-point win was false, but was impressed by how they put the Déise to the sword.


Conor Gleeson’s red card really changed the game on Sunday and fair dues to Waterford, after the sending off they actually got back into the match.

Tipp were much better than the six-point lead they went into half-time with and there was still a nice breeze in Semple Stadium that was going to favour Waterford in the second period. Despite being down to 14 men, Waterford came out and dominated the game for 15 minutes, getting the deficit back to three points.

However, the encouraging thing from Tipperary was that they were able to steady the ship.

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It was a touch of class from Bonner Maher to bring down the ball and lay it off to Seamus Callanan to set up the first goal. Tipp’s teamwork has been excellent in the last two outings.

Once they got that goal, they settled and the contest was over.

The scoreline was a bit false though, because there isn’t really 18 points difference between Tipp and Waterford. The Déise became a bit disjointed after the first goal and Tipp took full advantage.

Worried for Waterford

What has happened to Waterford in the space of six or seven weeks?

They were contesting the National League final in March, but the defeat to Clare at Walsh Park definitely deflated them. There was so much talk of the home venue being an advantage that they didn’t perform until the game was nearly over and it was too late.

They were nearly convinced that they would get the two points that day.

If you’re hearing that, subconsciously, you almost think you are going to be handed the win. They never connected with the crowd.

It’s a tough place for Páraic Fanning to be in now after the beating they got from Tipperary. It’ll be hard for Waterford to pick themselves up, but they are at home to Limerick next.

The only thing they can do is go out and give the Waterford fans something to smile about. They are under serious pressure though.

No one wants to watch a game of frees

Watching it back on the Sunday Game, you’d have to say Conor Gleeson’s first yellow card was extremely harsh.

The two yellow cards that Gleeson and Seamus Callanan got for the first incidents were very soft.

Gleeson will be disappointed in himself for the second one though. He knew he was on a yellow and pulling down a player is a carding offence, so then you’re off.

The second yellow was a bit stupid, to be honest.

For an experienced player like Conor Gleeson to do that was utter desperation. If you are close enough to pull a man down, then you’re close enough to put in a legitimate tackle.

Maybe he was just thinking about preventing a goal at all costs, but it ended up being detrimental to Waterford and the game as a whole.

The standard of refereeing has been poor over the first two weeks of the Championship. We’ve seen way too many frees, you’d like to have more of a flow.

The hurling public don’t come in their thousands see free-takers score 10 or 15 frees in a match.

Breen Machine is in fine order

To be fair to Waterford after exerting so much energy to get back in the game, they were spent once the goal went in and that helped Tipperary pick them off.

It wasn’t really a contest after that and Tipp found themselves with a lot of space to exploit.

However, it also highlighted Tipperary’s level of fitness and Michael Breen really opened up the gears to score the point that everyone was talking about after the match. It was a super score.

Breen was played in the forwards a bit last year and he was moved around when Tipperary had injuries. He’s such a versatile hurler, he could play anywhere.

But, when he’s on form he’s a very influential midfielder. His work rate is high, he’s very athletic and it’s an ideal position for him. He seems to be enjoying it now and that’s a big plus for Tipp.

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