By Peter O'Dwyer
The second All-Ireland semi-final that saw Tipperary comfortably overcome Cork was a case of men against boys, according to former Cork goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack.
Cusack said that his former team were comprehensively beaten by Tipp in every facet of the game that the Premier County won on a scoreline of 2-18 to 1-11.
“I was leaving the stadium and a man came up to me and he said it was men against boys and it was pretty hard to argue against that. Tactically we were out-witted, physically we were dominated in almost all of the exchanges and skill wise Tipperary blew us off the park,” he said speaking on RTÉ’s The Sunday Game.
The two-time All Star also lauded the winners’ second half display, highlighting the value of a strong start to the second period.
“The third quarter has such a big impact on the result of games and Tipperary came out in the second half and totally blew Cork away. You could have argued at half time that Cork weren’t in a bad position; they hadn’t played great, they had missed a lot of points – eve frees - and yet they were only a couple of points down,” said Cuscak.
The Sunday Game analyst also said that Croke Park was the setting for the greatest ever display of tactical puckouts from Tipperary goalkeeper Darren Gleeson.
“Darren Gleeson gave the greatest display of tactical puckouts ever seen... I want to put it on record: it was the greatest display of puckouts ever but the Cork defending was poor,” he said of the Tipperary ‘keeper.
His thoughts were echoed by fellow analysts, Limerick defender Seamus Hickey and Gleeson’s predecessor in goals for Tipp, Brendan Gleeson.
The panel highlighted that Eamon O’Shea’s men won 70% of their puckouts and questioned how the Cork management didn’t do more to counteract Tipp’s dominance in that regard.
“Short puckouts are a killer. If you’re conceding easy puckouts you’re setting yourself up for a big fall,” said Hickey.