Tipperary picked up their first win of the 2011 Allianz National Hurling league with a hard fought victory over neighbours, Waterford, in a highly charged game at Semple Sradium on Saturday night.
Having lost heir opening two games against Dublin and Kilkenny, the Preier county badly needed to get their season back and track here and did so despite struggling against a Deise outfit that ended the match with 13 players.Richie Foley was the main scorer for the visitors and hit three frees inside the opening ten minutes. The hosts replied with points from David Young, Noel McGrath and Pa Bourke.
Wateford went ahead again through Foley, before Paul Kelly struck the crucial goal of the contest after 14 minutes. Noel McGrath added two further points and Tipperary looked like taking control. Foley replied for the visitors before further scores from McGrath and Pa Bourke saw Tipperary go in at half time leading 1-12 to 0-10.
The mountain became even higher for Waterford to climb when they had Shane O’Sullivan and keeper Clinton Hennessey sent off shortly after the restart.Pa Bourke added a free to increase the lead for the home side, but Richie Foley responded and added vital scores for the Deise as they narrowed the gap once again. However, the extra men made the difference in the finish and Tipperary had doe enough to hold on and register their first win of the new league campaign.
Noel McGrath, making his return to a side that saw five changes from the one that lost to Kilkenny, was the man of the match. With the likes of Lar Corbett and Seamus Callanan still to return, the only way if up for the All Ireland champions and Declan Ryan’s charges look set to be a force to be reckoned with once again in 2011.