Thursday, March 16, 2023

Tipperary’s Dan McCormack tackles Carthach Daly of Waterford during their National Hurling League clash on Saturday night in Thurles. Photos: Inpho.

Allianz NHL: Tipperary v Waterford: The Big Match Breakdown

A member of the Tipperary backroom team admitted afterwards that the scoreboard flattered them. This game was in the fire until Jake Morris netted his second goal and Jamie Barron saw red.
A diehard Déise fan out on the field remarked that the team played better against the wind. He was right. In the space of thirteen minutes, the away side turned a four-point half time deficit into a one-point lead. Seven at the back is the way forward for Waterford.

The Déise trailed by 1-12 to 0-11 at the break but it should have been more. Billy Nolan pulled off saves from Jake Morris and Seamus Callanan, Seamus Kennedy popped over a point when he had a sniff of goal while Tadhg De Burca cut out a dangerous cross.
Davy Fitzgerald switched to seven at the back at half time. Conor Ryan, Mark Fitzgerald, Iarlaith Daly and De Burca made up a four-man full back line with De Burca left free to sweep. They forced Tipp to go long into their attack and the Clashmore/Kinsalebeg man cleaned up. During the third quarter, he was on the ball on nine times. The noise levels went up in the New Stand when he attacked a ball over the head of Jason Forde. It was like he was never away.
Waterford tightened up at one end and opened up at the other. In a thirteen-minute spell, they created twelve chances and converted six. Three of those were for goals. The extra defender also offered Nolan more options off the puckout. In the third quarter, he picked out De Burca, Calum Lyons and Conor Ryan. Those four short ones resulted in three points and a wide. When Jack Prendergast edged Waterford in front on 48 minutes, Liam Cahill knew that he had to change it up and sprung Jason Forde from the subs bench.
In their post-match interviews, both managers acknowledged that Waterford looked more effective with seven defenders. “Everyone loves a straight out six backs, maybe some teams it just doesn’t suit them,” Fitzgerald observed.

Waterford had six chances for green flags. As early as the fourth minute, Patrick Curran sent Stephen Bennett through the middle of the Tipperary defence but he hesitated and Michael Breen blocked him down. Ronan Maher hooked Calum Lyons just as he tried to pull the trigger in front of the Town goal. In injury time, Neil Montgomery raced down the left wing but his hand pass couldn’t find Colin Dunford off the shoulder.
At the start of the second half, Jack Prendergast and Montgomery flashed shots across the face of goal and wide. Prendergast fired over a point when goal was a possibility and Lyons fumbled a pass from Colin Dunford. Tipp were more clinical in that department.
Waterford created 40 scoring chances. They were guilty of thirteen wides. A worrying stat was that Dessie Hutchinson only had one shot and six possessions across the 78 minutes of action. Stephen Bennett only got one shot off from play as well. Are Waterford holding something back for the Munster championship?

Waterford lost seventeen of their 32 puckouts.
They only won six out of fourteen in the first half. During that barren spell of 21 minutes without a score, they lost four long ones in a row as Ronan Maher ruled the roost at number six for Tipp. Billy Nolan sent them in high around the half forward line but it didn’t pay dividends. Waterford got more joy off the short puckouts at the end of the first half and the start of the second half.
The Déise won nine and lost nine during the second period. Nolan’s first long delivery after the break was won by Patrick Maher and Jake Morris tucked away his second goal. In fact, all three Tipp goals in the second half came off Waterford puckouts.

The return of Tadhg De Burca and the form of Calum Lyons were the two positives to take out of Saturday night.
Lyons finished with four points from six shots at the posts. It brings his tally up to eleven in four league games. Waterford’s star man also had two chances for goals and assisted a point for Iarlaith Daly. The box to box hurler from Ballyduff Lower is given the freedom under Davy Fitzgerald to cut loose from the half back line. He has got off 24 shots in the league campaign so far. What an athlete, what a player.
The trend of Déise defenders shooting from distance continued. Of Waterford’s 38 shots, eleven came from the backs. Lyons hit six, Iarlaith Daly two while Mark Fitzgerald, Tadhg De Burca and Shane McNulty all had one each.


Davy Fitzgerald was happy with the attitude shown by his players in Thurles on Saturday night.

“There are some changes to the Waterford team.” That was the announcement over the PA before the match started.
Waterford named their panel at ten o’clock on Friday night but it wasn’t the panel published in the programme. There were eleven changes in total from the 26 revealed on social media. Tipperary waited until Saturday morning to disclose their line-up.
The programme cost €4 in Semple Stadium. Out of respect to supporters, all teams should be named at 9 o’clock on Friday night and printed correctly in the programme. Surely this isn’t too much to ask.

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