GAA | Tipperary edge Wexford in dramatic semi-final

Tipperary have beaten Wexford by 1-28 to 3-20 to set up an All-Ireland SHC final against Kilkenny.

Four goals.

48 points.

A red card.

Controversial decisions.

Hawkeye drama.

This All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship semi-final between Wexford and Tipperary had it all.

14-man Tipp eventually prevailed, coming from behind time and time again to win by two points after six minutes of stoppage time.

Wexford led by 1-14 to 1-12 at the break after a gripping first half.

Padie Foley got Wexford on the scoreboard within 20 seconds of the throw-in, firing over an effort from distance.

Ronan Maher responded instantly with an excellent point from the halfway line, before Liam Ryan produced one of the season’s best points.

The Wexford full back won a high ball deep in his own half, and pounced on a breaking ball seconds later before soloing 40 yards up the sideline and splitting the posts with a fantastic effort.

Maher made a great block to deny Foley a goal chance, but Lee Chin’s 65 shortly afterwards stretched the Leinster county’s lead to three.

Jason Forde tapped over a free for Tipp before Michael Breen saw a goal ruled out for a foul in the buildup.

However, there was no stopping Séamus Callanan’s goal in the ninth minute.

The Tipp forward pulled on a loose ball first time, striking it across into the far corner to take his tally to seven goals in as many games.

Forde added a free a few minutes later to make it 0-05 to 1-03 in favour of the Premier County.

Paul Morris then fired over a much needed point for Wexford, their first in nine minutes.

Liam Óg McGovern stroked over a point to restore parity a minute later, before Noel McGrath’s effort from the left nudged Tipp into the lead once more.

Foley and Forde traded scores before Diarmuid O’Keeffe tapped over a point after being found in acres of space deep in the Tipperary half.

Brian Hogan made an excellent save to divert Rory O’Connor powerful strike over the bar in the 21st minute.

Chin and Forde exchanged frees before Wexford grabbed their first goal in the 25th minute.

Morris did brilliantly down the left channel, picking out Shaun Murphy infield with a clever low pass.

Murphy lofted the ball to the back post where Conor McDonald waited.

McDonald cut inside on the 21 and unleashed a powerful effort past Hogan to give Wexford a four-point lead.

John McGrath instantly forced Mark Fanning into a smart save at the other end as Tipp sought an instant response, with Forde nailing the resulting 65.

There was huge drama on the half hour mark.

Hogan rose to collect an effort from Chin over the cross bar, before launching a counter-attack for Tipp which ended with McGrath finding the back of the Wexford net.

However, Tipp’s celebrations were cut short when Hawkeye determined that Chin’s initial effort had gone over the bar before Murphy’s catch.

Instead of registering a goal, Liam Sheedy’s men found themselves a point further behind.

Noel McGrath and Maher hit back with points for the Munster county, with Callanan also getting in on the act to make it a one-point game.

Chin restored Wexford’s lead to two points with a free, before John ‘Bubbles’ Dwyer and O’Keefe traded scores.

Forde added a fine score from play before yet another free from Chin ensured Wexford had the final say of the half.

After four minutes of stoppage time, the half ended with Wexford leading by 1-14 to 1-12.

Tipp scored the first three points of the second half to take the lead, with ‘Bubbles’ on fire after the restart.

Morris made it 1-16 apiece with a beautiful score in the 42nd minute.

Tipp were reduced to 14 men three minutes later when John McGrath was shown a second yellow card for a reckless tackle on Damien Reck.

Rory O’Connor and Jack O’Connor capitalized with a point each, before Chin scored Wexford’s second goal in the 49th minute.

The set-piece expert ran off McGovern’s shoulder and slotted a low shot past Hogan to make it 2-18 to 1-16.

Callanan and Forde hit back to make it a three-point game, before Bubbles scored Sheedy’s side’s third point in a row.

Barry Heffernan was lucky to escape punishment for a punch into O’Keefe’s stomach, an incident which apparently was missed by the match officials.

Ger Browne fizzed a point narrowly over the bar to give Tipp a 57th minute lead, but Wexford scored their third goal three minutes later.

Chin unselfishly set up McDonald to find the net, but Wexford had to endure a tense wait while the referee consulted the umpires on whether it was a square ball or not.

The goal was awarded, giving Wexford a 3-18 to 1-21 lead with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Noel McGrath proved inspirational for Tipp, scoring two crucial points before substitute Mark Kehoe drew Sheedy’s side level for an incredible ninth time in the 65th minute.

Callanan was over-indulgent on the ball in his own defence, and was penalized for over-carrying, allowing Chin to nudge Wexford a point clear again.

Six minutes of injury time were added on, and Willie Connors slotted a point to restore parity for the 10th time.

Tipp were furious when they had a goal ruled out, with the referee electing not to play an advantage after a foul on Callanan by Ryan, much to the chagrin of Sheedy on the sideline.

Forde converted a free and then a 65 to edge Tipp ahead, with Chin soon lashing a free over at the other end.

Jake Morris scored a wonderful point from the left flank in the 75th minute to extend Tipp’s lead to two.

It proved to be the final score of a thrilling encounter at Croke Park.

Tipp will now renew their age-old rivalry with Kilkenny in the final, with Liam Sheedy and Brian Cody facing off in the decider for the third time.

The hurling heavyweights will contest their fifth final of the summer.

What a summer of hurling.