Cork beat Tipperary by narrowest of margins following late goal drama

Donncha O'Connor of Cork in action against Paddy Codd of Tipperary during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Pairc Ui Rinn in Cork. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Cork 1-10 Tipperary 1-9

By Eoghan Cormican at Páirc Uí Rinn.

A 60th minute Luke Connolly goal was the crucial score as Cork stumbled into the Munster football final.

Connolly's goal arrived less than a minute after Conor Sweeney, having touched a long delivery beyond Ken O'Halloran, appeared to have registered the decisive score of this semi-final.

We'll come back to the late drama further down.

It didn’t look promising for the hosts when Conor Sweeney notched his second point 15 seconds into the second-half. He added his third soon after as Tipperary threatened to pull away. 0-6 to 0-1 read the scoreboard at this juncture.

Kerrigan and Donncha O’Connor kicked the opening pair of what would prove a six-in-a-row sequence as Cork began to motor. Liam Boland engineered himself a goal chance thereafter but Ken O’Halloran produced a fine save.

Kerrigan, Connolly (0-2) and Collins put Peadar Healy's charges in front for the first time since the 3rd minute. Tipperary responded. And they’d respond again when a Donncha O’Connor free shoved the Rebels back in front. And they responded a third time after their opponents had eked out a two-point lead. On this occasion, their response was a Conor Sweeney goal, the corner-forward touching Colm O’Shaughnessy’s delivery to the net. 1-9 to 0-10 the scoreline now read in their favour. 69 minutes had run on the clock. You sense the worst for Cork.

But as Tipperary regrouped, Cork surged down the field. James Loughrey and Mark Collins played through Luke Connolly and he palmed the ball past Ciarán Kenrick.

Five minutes of injury-time came and went without a score, Cork hanging on to advance to the Munster final.

Paul Kerrigan of Cork in action against Brian Fox of Tipperary during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Pairc Ui Rinn in Cork. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

The history books were being dusted down at half-time to see when was the last time a Cork team managed only a solitary point in the opening half of a championship game. Worse still was that Luke Connolly’s point arrived three minutes in at Páirc Ui Rinn. For the remaining 32 minutes, they just could not steer a ball between the Tipperary posts. Of their nine wides, Luke Connolly and Brian O’Driscoll were guilty of two apiece. O’Driscoll was hauled ashore immediately after kicking the second of his.

They had goal chances too. Colm O’Neill’s drive rebounded off a Tipperary leg, while Paul Kerrigan shot narrowly wide from close range.

Up the other end, Tipperary had their own struggles but they paled in comparison to that of their opponents. Michael Quinlivan being stretchered off 19 minutes in represented a real hammer blow to the visitor’s chances. They led 0-2 to 0-1 at this stage but refused to allow the loss of their chief target man unsettle them.

Michael Quinlivan of Tipperary leaves the pitch injured during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Pairc Ui Rinn in Cork. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Quinlivan’s replacement Liam McGrath split the posts with a sweet curling effort off the left boot and the gap moved out to three following a fine score by Robbie Kiely. The Tipperary centre-back was their outstanding player in the first-half getting onto a huge amount of possession and serving as an effective link man when Liam Kearns’ side moved from defence to attack.

The visitors will be disappointed they did not push on after moving five clear early in the second-half.

Scorers for Cork: L Connolly (1-2); P Kerrigan (0-3); D O’Connor (0-2, 0-1 free); B O’Driscoll, C O’Neill (0-1 free), M Collins (0-1 each).

Scorers for Tipperary: C Sweeney (1-5, 0-1 free); K O’Halloran, L McGrath, R Kiely, L Boland (0-1 each).

Cork: K O’Halloran; M Shields, J O’Sullivan, K Crowley; C O’Driscoll, J Loughrey, T Clancy; R Deane, I Maguire; B O’Driscoll, P Kerrigan, J O’Rourke; L Connolly, P Kelleher, C O’Neill.

Subs: D O’Connor for Kelleher (30 mins); Barry O’Driscoll for Brian O’Driscoll (36); S Powter for C O’Driscoll (HT); M Collins for Barry O’Driscoll (44-49, blood); M Collins for Deane (51); M Hurley for J O’Rourke (60); G Murphy for O’Neill (65).

Tipperary: C Kenrick; S O’Connell, P Codd, A Campbell; B Maher, R Kiely, J Feehan; L Casey, G Hannigan; J Keane, L Boland, B Fox; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan, D Foley.

Subs: L McGrath for Quinlivan (19 mins, inj); K O’Halloran for Foley (47); A Moloney for Casey (53); K Bergin for Hannigan, C O’Shaughnessy for O’Connell (both 56); J Lonergan for Boland (65).

Referee: C Branagan (Down).

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