Munster IHC final:
Tipperary 0-19 Cork 0-18
A fractured, free-ridden Munster IHC final in baking-hot Semple Stadium last night, a game that was never allowed get off the ground as the whistle of Clare arbiter Damian Fox became a regular and unnecessary interruption.
A game too that Cork could have won, sub Bill Cooper opting to create what would have been the winning goal in the final moments of play (correct option too) but a combination of Cork imprecision and last-ditch Tipperary defence managed to keep them out and the game ended, fittingly in the circumstances, with yet another hotly-disputed free, this one for Tipperary.
Another Munster title then for Tipperary, another win this week over Cork but at least on this occasion they were made to earn it.
Cork had two survivors from Wednesday’s humiliating 15 point loss in the Munster U21 semi-final; not surprisingly, given the effort they put in that evening in this energy-draining heatwave, both Jamie Wall (26m) and Rob O’Shea (43m) failed to last the hour.
Not that it was a hectic pace. Though there was never very much between them (four points the most, Tipp with a great start to second half to take a 0-14 to 0-10 lead), the game lacked any kind of edge.
Though facing into the slight breeze it was Tipperary in charge early on, and they led 0-4 to 0-2 after 13 minutes, wing-forward Orrie Quirke with two of those points.
Cork came back to tie it, however, centre-forward Peter O’Brien with a brace from placed balls, and from there to the break it was tit-for-tat, six points apiece leaving it tied at 0-10 each.
Two of those Cork points came from wing-forward Brian Lawton, two more from O’Brien, while placed-ball specialist Timmy Hammersley was doing the business for Tipperary.
In what was to become a feature of the game, Cork keeper Martin Coleman scored a long-range free from all of 110 yards, saw another from the same distance drift narrowly wide.
Martin’s effort would be matched early in the second half by his Tipperary counterpart, Darragh Egan, however, then repeated twice more, the long-striking former Tipp senior forward finishing with three points to his name.
Into the second half and it was Tipp with the strong start again, two artillery efforts from Egan, one each from Hammersley and Danny O’Hanlon giving them that four-point start.
Managed by Dromina’s Liam Hayes, this Cork team wasn’t for dying easily, however, and a point from corner-forward Colm Casey followed by two more from the excellent Peter O’Brien (finished with 12 points, 11 of those from frees — tells a tale all by itself, in a 60-minute game), and Cork were very much back in the match.
Tipp responded, yet another Hammersley pointed free (ten of their scores came from placed balls), but three more from O’Brien had Cork ahead for only the second time in the game, 0-16 to 0-15, nine minutes of play remaining.
Once again however the momentum swung and again it was Tipperary on top, this time with a critically-timed four-point sequence, Egan again with one of those, a tap-over from his own half of the field, just outside the 45m line but wide on the right.
Again Cork fought back, yet another brace from O’Brien bringing them within a point; then came that finish and the gamble by Cooper. It almost paid off, but he should not be criticised for having the courage to go for the jugular.
More encouragement for Tipp hurling, more disappointment for Cork.
Scorers for Tipperary: T Hammersley (0-6, five frees); D Egan (0-3, three frees); O Quirke (0-2); D O’Hanlon (0-2); R Gleeson (0-2); J McLoughney (0-2, one free); T Butler, P Shortt (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cork: P O’Brien (0-12, 11 frees); B Lawton (0-2); C Casey (0-2); M Coleman, M Kennefick (0-1 each).
TIPPERARY: D Egan; S O’Brien, M Butler, T Treacy; W Ryan, D Young (c), P Heffernan; J McLoughney, S McCormack; O Quirke, T Hammersley, D O’Hanlon; R Gleeson, T Butler, P Greene.
Subs: P Shortt for Greene (39); P Molloy for O’Hanlon (52); P O’Leary for Butler 55); B Fox for Quirke (55).
CORK: M Coleman; M Ellis, J O’Callaghan, E Dillon; T Healy, R Cashman, M Walsh; J Cronin, S McCarthy; B Lawton, P O’Brien, R O’Shea; C Casey, J Wall, M Kennefick.
Subs: B Lawton for Wall (26); M O’Sullivan for O’Shea (43); A Watson for McCarthy (49); B Cooper for Casey (55).
Referee: D Fox (Clare).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved