TRAILING BY FIVE points on the scoreboard, reduced to 14 man after John McGrath received a red card and hit by the concession of a second goal that left Wexford flying high.
That was the grave scenario facing Tipperary during the second half of a frantic clash in Croke Park this afternoon and yet they still conjured up a remarkable All-Ireland semi-final success.
A stirring revival that saw them land a succession of vital points, including four key scores from their substitutes, propelled Tipperary into next month’s decider. Familiar foes Kilkenny await, the fifth time this decade that the pair will contest the Liam MacCarthy showpiece.
Wexford will nurse huge regrets from this one. They rattled the Tipperary net on three occasions, the last one on the 60th minute mark supplied by Conor McDonald as he raised his second green flag of the afternoon, to push them ahead by three. But Tipperary won the points battle 0-7 to 0-2 thereafter to wipe out that deficit they faced and launch themselves into the final in this second spell with Liam Sheedy at the helm.
61,852 were in attendance to witness the second rip-roaring encounter staged at Croke Park over the weekend. The pace of the game was relentless with Wexford making the early running but the scores flowed in both directions as Tipperary trailed 1-14 to 1-12 at the break.
Tipperary’s hopes hit a serious roadblock early in the second half. John McGrath swiped across Damien Reck, an offence that yielded his second yellow card of the day and the brandishing of that red left them facing a steep incline with 14 men.
Their mood soured further when Lee Chin burst into a corridor of space in the 49th minute. He had options to pass with team-mates available but the Faythe Harriers man backed himself and was rewarded with a low shot that rolled into the corner. A second goal left Wexford five up and their hopes were soaring but Tipperary reeled them in during a breathless finale.
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Tipperary’s Padraic Maher and Wexford’s Kevin Foley after the game.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Tipperary got an early tonic in the 10th minute and the source of that goal sparked little surprise. Niall O’Meara made an enterprising burst and while his pass was a little overcooked, the narrowing of the angle didn’t deter Seamus Callanan as he whipped home a cracking shot. The seventh green flag raised by the Drom-Inch man this summer.
Wexford’s powers of recovery were impressive. It was aided by their spread of scorers with eight different players having struck a point apiece by the 20th minute. It was further bolstered by McDonald lashing home his first goal in the 25th minute, calmly stepping inside the Tipperary rearguard to finish after a weighted delivery was floated across by Shaun Murphy.
Tipperary began the second half in a bright fashion, John O’Dwyer leading their charge in attack and Michael Breen banged over an excellent point to nudge them in front, 1-16 to 1-15, by the 40th minute
They then had to withstand a series of setbacks with the dismissal of McGrath and the pair of Wexford goals. But Tipperary never lost their nerve, stitching together five points in a row between the 51st and 57th minutes to draw level.
They were in arrears when Lee Chin knocked over a 70th minute free for Wexford but Tipperary powered towards the finish line. Willie Connors, a brace from Jason Forde and Jake Morris all registered points. Morris hit the clinching effort and looked to have bagged a goal moments before but it was disallowed and play brought back for an earlier foul. That was the third time in the game Tipperary had a goal wiped out.
A placed ball from Chin was the solitary Wexford response in that finale as they could not withstand the Tipperary charge.
Nine years after conquering Kilkenny on All-Ireland final day, Sheedy will take a Tipperary side into combat at that stage once more.
Liam Sheedy celebrates after the game with Noel McGrath.
Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-12 (0-8f, 0-2 ’65), Séamus Callanan 1-2, Noel McGrath 0-4, John O’Dwyer 0-3, Ronan Maher 0-2, Michael Breen, Ger Browne, Willie Connors, Mark Kehoe, Jake Morris 0-1 each.
Scorers for Wexford: Lee Chin 1-7 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65), Conor McDonald 2-1, Rory O’Connor 0-3, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Paul Morris 0-2 each, Liam Ryan, Paudie Foley, Kevin Foley, Liam Óg McGovern, Jack O’Connor 0-1 each.
1. Brian Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha)
2. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill)
23. Seamus Kennedy (St Mary’s Clonmel)
5. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
7. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
6. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
4. Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg)
10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh)
9. Michael Breen (Ballina)
11. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule)
8. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
12. Niall O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs)
13. Jason Forde (Silvermines)
14. Séamus Callanan (Drom-Inch — captain)
15. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
20. Willie Connors (Kiladangan) for McCormack (52)
17. Ger Browne (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams) for Breen (54)
22. Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash) for O’Meara (56)
21. Alan Flynn (Kiladangan) for Heffernan (65)
25. Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg) for O’Dwyer (67)
of the team
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1. Mark Fanning (Glynn-Barntown)
17. Damien Reck (Oylegate-Glenbrien)
3. Liam Ryan (Rapparees)
6. Matthew O’Hanlon (St James – captain)
8. Kevin Foley (Rapparees)
4. Simon Donohoe (Shelmaliers)
5. Paudie Foley (Crossabeg-Ballymurn)
7. Shaun Murphy (Oulart-the-Ballagh)
9. Diarmuid O’Keeffe (St Anne’s)
10. Liam Óg McGovern (St Anne’s)
12. Jack O’Connor (St Martin’s)
14. Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers – captain)
15. Rory O’Connor (St Martin’s)
11. Conor McDonald (Naomh Éanna)
13. Paul Morris (Ferns St Aidan’s)
26. Aidan Nolan (Halfway House Bunclody) for Murphy (52)
20. Joe O’Connor (St Martin’s) for Reck (56)
22. David Dunne (Davidstown-Courtnacuddy) for Jack O’Connor (58)
21. Cathal Dunbar (Naomh Éanna) for Rory O’Connor (64)
Referee: Seán Cleere (Kilkenny)
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