By John Fogarty
Tipperary 1-21 Derry 2-17
Conor Sweeney was the hero for Tipperary in Cavan as they mounted a late fightback to reach their first All-Ireland quarter-final.
Liam Kearns’ side will face Galway in Croke Park tomorrow week after Sweeney slotted over two additional time points as Tipperary recovered from a Eoghan Brown goal in the 67th minute.
In a fascinating game spoiled by a glut of questionable refereeing decisions that hurt both sides, Derry went two points up via the excellent Danny Heavron in the last minute of regulation time but Tipperary responded impressively with points from Kevin O’Halloran (free) and Sweeney’s sweet brace.
Tipperary would have kicked themselves had they lost this having been five points up on the hour mark.
O’Halloran goaled in the 48th minute when he made the most of a poor Thomas Mallon clearance after he fielded a Bill Maher point attempt that had dropped short.
It was Maher’s point which put Tipp five clear but Derry responded with points from Mark Lynch, Liam McGoldrick and Chris Bradley before Brown finished to the net from a move involving Lynch and Ciaran McFaul saw Derry go one up.
Tipperary didn’t register a wide until the 25th minute but they then accumulated four in as many minutes. Aided by the wind, those misses were costly and underlined further by Derry’s flurry towards the end of the half.
In two minutes, Derry took Tipperary for 1-2, a Lynch free and Enda Lynn finding the posts either side of Lynch’s goal, which was created by a brilliant burst from midfield from Heavron, Derry’s best player in that period.
Niall Loughlin scored three first-half points but Tipperary were struggling to handle Heavron’s runs.
Both teams were also poor on their own kick-out and at least 1-5 of Derry’s 1-7 first half total came by way of winning ball from Tipperary restarts.
Tipperary went in one behind, having scored 10 points, but they badly needed a goal yet it was Derry who were threatening more at the other end.
Tipperary led by four points in the 19th minute but they needed scores from injury-time points from O’Halloran and Quinlivan to give them something more to show for a first half where they were marginally the better side.
Scorers for Tipperary: K. O’Halloran (1-5, 0-4 frees, 0-1 45); M. Quinlivan (0-6, 4 frees); C. Sweeney (0-5); J. Keane (0-2); P. Austin, P. Acheson, B. Maher (0-1 each).
Scorers for Derry: M. Lynch (1-4, 0-3 frees); D. Heavron (0-4); N. Loughlin (0-3); E. Brown (1-0); J. Kielt (0-2, 1 free); E. Lynn, E. Bradley, L. McGoldrick, C. Bradley (0-1 each).
TIPPERARY: E. Comerford; C. McDonald, A. Campbell, J. Feehin; B. Maher, C. O’Shaughnessy, R. Kiely; P. Acheson (c), G. Hannigan; J. Keane, M. Quinlivan, B. Fox; K. O’Halloran, P. Austin, C. Sweeney.
Subs for Tipperary: A. Moloney for G. Hannigan (h-t); S. Leahy for R. Kiely (67); M. Hanley for C. O’Shaughnessy (70+4); K O'Halloran (black, 75).
DERRY: T. Mallon; O. Duffy, B. Rogers, C. Mullan; K. McKaigue, C. McKaigue (c), C. McAtamney; C. McFaul, N. Holly; E. Lynn, D. Heavron, N. Loughlin; J. Kielt, E. McGuckin, M. Lynch.
Subs for: N. Toner for E. Lynn (43); C. Bradley for J. Kielt (50); E. Bradley for N. Holly (52); L. McGoldrick for O. Duffy (56); E. Brown for E. McGuckin (62); N. Forrester for D. Heavron (inj, 70+3).
Referee: M. Duffy (Sligo).