Reigning champions Tipperary inflicted a 21-point hammering on Waterford in last Sunday’s Munster Senior Hurling Final.
A dark dank and rainy Gaelic Grounds hosted a repeat of last year’s paring in front of an official attendance of just 26,508.
Tipperary delivered a performance that signalled their credentials as genuine All-Ireland contenders on the way to their 42nd Munster Senior crown.
Waterford manager Derek McGrath admitted post-match to being “highly embarrassed” by his side’s performance, their largest Championship defeat since 2011, ironically also a 21-point reversal to the same opposition and at the same Championship staging post.
Tipperary, with a traditional and orthodox approach to the game, outhurled their opponents for the majority of this game as fast, direct ball to the Tipp forward line laid waste to the Waterford defensive structures.
Despite the now customary presence of Tadhg De Búrca as an extra defender sweeping in front of the Waterford full-back line the Déise conceded a staggering five goals.
They hit three of these goals, two from Man of the Match John McGrath, in a seven-minute spell from the 41st to the 48th minute to end the game as a contest. This allowed Michael Ryan’s charges an armchair ride from there to the end leading by 4-11 to 0-10 with over 22 minutes still to play.
Despite the winners overall dominance Waterford trailed by just two points, 1-7 to 0-8 after the opening half. The opening exchanges were tentative and without huge levels of intensity that failed to rouse greatly an expectant audience. Patrick Curran, Pauric Mahony (2) and Austin Gleeson from a sideline were all on the scoreboard early as Waterford led by double scores (0-4 to 0-2) after just eight minutes.
John McGrath’s opening goal of his eventual hat-trick arrived in the ninth minute. Despite having his initial effort repelled, McGrath was on hand to finish to the net after an error by Stephen O’Keeffe offered the Tipp Under-21 player a second bite of the cherry.
Waterford responded well to this first major blow with two more Mahony frees and a sublime sideline effort by Austin Gleeson from all of 65 metres to leave the score 0-7 to 1-2 to the challengers.
Five points in a row then gave the Premier a clear advantage despite them playing against the breeze in the opening half (1-7 to 0-7).
A mis-hit short puck-out directly to Niall O’Meara almost led to a second first half goal for Tipperary, however Patrick Maher fumbled when well placed. Ten wides in the opening half was a worrying feature for Waterford as another pointed free from Mahony closed out the half.
But the second half was all about the goals. Using the wind to good advantage goalkeeper Darren Gleeson launched a puck-out towards the Waterford goal after 40 minutes.
The ball landed around the ‘D’ into the path of John McGrath who burst past the cover to kick his second goal (2-10 to 0-10).
The Premier’s third major after 43 minutes was also route one with John McGrath catching another booming puck-out and his accurate hand-pass sent the inrushing Michael Breen clear to shoot high past O’Keeffe shaking the raindrops from the rigging.
The fourth goal after 48 minutes also resulted from another direct long ball this time from Padraic Maher. Seamus Callanan was fouled by Barry Coughlan as he attempted to gather and John McGrath dispatched the penalty to complete his hat-trick (4-11 to 0-10).
It was all one way traffic from there till the end but there was still time for another green flagger for the winners. This time a short puck out to the unmarked Tipp full-back James Barry allowed the Upperchurch man to send another long ball in the direction of the Waterford goal.
On this occasion Tipp talisman Seamus Callanan was onto the breaking ball in a flash and it was goal number five (5-17 to 0-12) in the 69th minute as blue and gold ribbons were being attached to the Munster Cup.
Waterford must recover from this disappointment quickly as they now face Wexford in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Tipperary’s season will extend to at least August as they move on to the Championship semi-final.
Waterford: Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane Fives, Barry Coughlan, Noel Connors; Philip Mahony, Tadhg De Búrca, Darragh Fives; Jamie Barron, Kevin Moran; Shane Bennett, Pauric Mahony, Michael Walsh; Maurice Shanahan, Patrick Curran, Austin Gleeson.
Substitutes: Tom Devine for Maurice Shanahan (48 mins), Jake Dillon for Michael Walsh (49), Colin Dunford for Austin Gleeson (54), Conor Gleeson for Noel Connors (56) and Brian O’Halloran for Pauric Mahony (59).
Scorers: Pauric Mahony (0-6; 0-4f), Patrick Curran (0-5; 0-3f), Austin Gleeson (0-2 sidelines).
Tipperary: Darren Gleeson; Cathal Barrett, James Barry, Michael Cahill; Seamus Kennedy, Ronan Maher, Padraic Maher; Brendan Maher, Michael Breen; Dan McCormack, Patrick Maher, Noel McGrath; John McGrath, Seamus Callanan, Niall O’Meara.
Substitutes: Jason Forde for Niall O’Meara (50 mins), Sean Curran for Dan McCormack (55), Kieran Bergin for Brendan Maher (59), Aidan McCormack for Noel McGrath (65) and Donagh Maher for Ronan Maher (66).
Scorers: Seamus Callanan (1-11; 0-9f), John McGrath (3-2; 1-0 pen), Michael Breen (1-1), Padraic Maher, Noel McGrath, Patrick Maher, Jason Forde and Aidan McCormack (0-1 each).
Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly).