“The goals did kill Waterford,” Tipp manager Liam Sheedy said afterwards. “But we really needed the one in the second half. It gave us that bit of breathing space because, to be fair and honest, Waterford did outhurl us for long patches in the second half, and we were just hanging on with the odd point here and there.
“But I’d be happy with the performance. I thought again some of the play from the lads was top class. We do continue to struggle for that level of consistency right though, but when you’re playing teams the caliber of Waterford you’re not going to own the field for 70 minutes. That’s the reality of it. We’re only thinking of the All-Ireland semi-final final now and I’m just lucky to have such a good group.”
As for Waterford, the ghost of full-back lines past made a reappearance at the least useful time imaginable. They have appeared for the last couple of years to have sorted out what was their traditional weakness but on Sunday it came back to haunt them. At least two and most likely three of the Tipperary goals were definitely avoidable and came from small, basic errors that an under-14 full-back line would blush at.
“There was one or two aspects I was not happy with,” Davy Fitzgerald said, “but I am not going to talk about them. We’ll just say we dealt with things better in the second half. We have to look at the two mistakes. The goal before half-time, and the one after, were bad errors, mistakes we made. But fair play to Tipp. Munster champions. They were in control of the game for a lot of it. Tipp have been coming a long time. And they’ll be hard beaten. Their work ethic is very good. You can’t make mistakes and expect to win.”
Waterford have probably shot their bolt. In a quiet year, maybe the brilliance of John Mullane and Brick Walsh would be enough to drag them to an All Ireland final but this isn’t looking like a quiet year. Tipp and Galway are more rounded, more focused and probably more honest. Whether that will be enough for either of them to make an impression on Kilkenny, only the coming months can say.