Plenty of talking points at Thurles, where 14-man Tipperary defeated 13-man Waterford by 0-24 to 2-16.
Debutant Dillon Quirke delivered a Man of the Match performance for the All-Ireland champions, whipping over five points as Liam Sheedy’s men claimed a second successive victory, which means their rearranged clash with Galway in Salthill next weekend is a straight shoot-out for the last-remaining quarter-final berth.
Having carried a perfect record into this game, Waterford were already assured of a place in the business end of the competition. They can still upgrade their quarter-final ticket to a semi-final one if they get the better of holders Limerick in Group A’s other outstanding game next weekend.
With 6,411 looking on, Tipp led by 0-14 to 1-8 at the break but the real talking point of the first half (and indeed the match in general) was the three red cards dished out by referee Sean Stack, two to Na Deise and one to the home side.
Austin Gleeson was first to go for a second yellow in the 29th minute and both sides picked up straight reds late in the half as Kevin Moran (in the 34th minute) and then Cathal Barrett (in stoppage time, at the behest of an umpire) contentiously headed for early showers within four minutes of one another,
Tipp slotted three of the first five points but Peter Hogan’s tenth-minute goal propelled Liam Cahill’s charges into a 1-2 to 0-3 lead, the Premier County creeping ahead by the midway stage in the first half (0-8 to 1-4) and - aided by no fewer than four converted Jason Forde ‘65’s - assuming a two-point cushion with half an hour played: 0-11 to 1-6.
Full forward Stephen Bennett fired a low shot to the bottom right corner for the 13 men’s second major within a minute of the restart and the visitors were level with a quarter of the match remaining, 2-13 to 0-19. Despite a series of stunning saves from visiting goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe, it was Tipp who bagged a two-point victory, Waterford left to rue 16 wides.
Tipperary - B Hogan; A Flynn, R Maher, C Barrett (0-1); B McGrath, P Maher (0-1), B Heffernan; M Breen, P Cadell; J Forde (0-11, 5'65, 4f), S Callanan (0-2), N O'Meara (0-1); N McGrath (0-1), J McGrath (0-1), D Quirke (0-5). Subs: B O'Meara for B McGrath, J Morris for M Breen, C Darcy (0-1) for J McGrath, C Morgan for A Flynn, P Flynn for N O'Meara.
Waterford - S O'Keeffe; K Power, S McNulty, C Prunty; S Ryan, A Gleeson, K Moran (0-1); J Barron (0-2), C Gleeson (0-1); J Fagan, P Mahony (0-7, 6f), M Kearney; P Hogan (1-2), S Bennett (1-1), D Hutchinson (0-1). Subs: C Lyons for S Ryan, J Prendergast for J Fagan, D Lyons for K Power, N Montgomery (0-1) for D Hutchinson, P Curran for P Hogan.
Referee - S Stack.Tweet