65 minutes with the genius that is Bubbles O'Dwyer
Tipperary 2-30 Waterford 0-18
John O'Dwyer jogs around Semple Stadium.
Casual. Almost disinterested. Like a worn out player stumbling through a training session that has gone on for way too long, he has the hands on the hips and he's not up to much.
And you're there in the press box in Thurles wondering what it's all about.
But he's not disinterested, not even half way to worn out. He's just lulling the Waterford defenders and everyone else in the stadium into a false sense of security and he's gone like a motorbike before any of them know they're there.
He starts off on the right corner but he has no intention of staying there. Conor Gleeson is tasked with the man-marking duties. God bless him.
Tipperary's half forward line are sucked out for the throw-in and Waterford naively fall into the trap. Bonner Maher, Dan McCormack and Seamie Callanan are followed and Tipperary's inside line, where it all happens, is dancing.
Bubbles floats around one corner, John McGrath the other. Callanan and Forde swap in and out from centre to full but it's all about 13 and 15.
Tipperary have beaten Waterford. Watch the Full-Time highlights here on GAANOW pic.twitter.com/072KpeSUp8
— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 19, 2019
They reside 20 yards either side of the man in the middle but the truth is they're just waiting for their chance. Because whenever any Tipperary half back, midfield or even half forward takes a look-up, the two lads are beckoning the ball down the line and into the space on their right and left.
Then they're away in a hack.
Jason Forde is joining the fun too.
Four shots four scores
John O'Dwyer gets his first ball with three minutes on the clock. It's a peach down the line from Brendan Maher and the Killenuale man is out in front.
Little shimmy. Turn and flick. You can hear the Tipperary crowd below us getting excited. There's something about Bubbles.
Another few paces around the Tipperary forward line. He's sucked out to the 45 for a while. John McGrath wins one inside and his partner in crime is off the shoulder.
Conor Prunty has been moved onto him now but it doesn't matter. Takes off one way, goes the other and Prunty is left rooted. Off the left again. The Premier County absolutely love this. Semple Stadium is hush with expectation, buzz and pride right now. This is John O'Dwyer, he's one of the country's most gifted players and he's one of their own.
A beautiful third follows after some instinctive work between Bubbles and McGrath, and so does a red card for Conor Gleeson. You get the sense that this game is over. You get the sense that John O'Dwyer is about to take off.
He hits one more in the second half. One is all that's needed.
Sharpshooters are often criticised for being selfish. Bubbles has always been a sharpshooter but in this reinvigorated Tipperary regime he's certainly no longer selfish.
The score wasn't on twice in the first half and he returns the favour to McGrath and then to Michael Breen. In the second, it's worth even more when his flick on sets up Seamus Callanan for Tipperary's second goal, the final nail in the Waterford coffin.
John O'Dwyer didn't lose one ball in Semple Stadium on Sunday. His running was explosive and it was direct. He may look like he's taking his time but it's a game of deception.
And he's on top of that game right now. So are Tipperary.
1 Brian Hogan
2 Cathal Barrett
3 James Barry
4 Ronan Maher
5 Brendan Maher
6 Padraic Maher
7 Alan Flynn
8 Noel McGrath
9 Michael Breen
10 Jason Forde
11 Patrick Maher
12 Niall O’Meara
13 John O’Dwyer
14 Seamus Callanan
15 John McGrath.
Barry Heffernan for Brendan Maher (HT), Robert Byrne for Dan McCormack (47), Willie Connors for Noel McGrath (62) Jake Morris for John O'Dwyer (65), Ger Browne for Bonner Maher (69)
1 Stephen O’Keeffe
2 Calum Lyons
3 Conor Prunty
4 Noel Connors
5 Phil Mahony
6 Tadgh De Burca
7 Kevin Moran
8 Jamie Barron
9 Conor Gleeson
10 Thomas Ryan
11 Austin Gleeson
12 Pauric Mahony
13 Jack Prendergast
14 Patrick Curran
15 Stephen Bennett
Maurice Shanahan for Patrick Curran (HT), Stephen Bennett for Shane Bennett (50), Kieran Bennett for Philip Mahony (56) Brian O'Halloran for Pauric Mahony (62)
Jason Forde (1-9, 0-1 65, 0-2f, 0-1 sideline), Ronan Maher (o-2, 0-1 sideline) John O'Dwyer (0-4), Michael Breen (0-6), John McGrath (0-5), Noel McGrath (0-1 free), Barry Heffernan (0-1), Jake Morris (0-1), Seamus Callanan (1-0)
Pauric Mahoney (0-9, 0-5f), Tommy Ryan (0-3), Stephen Bennett (0-1), Jamie Barron (0-1), Tadhg De Búrca (0-1), Aussie Gleeson (0-2)