By Eoghan Cormican
Tipperary 3-16 Cork 1-16: A dominant second-half showing from Tipperary in the curtain-raiser at Páirc Uí Chaoimh handed the Premier footballers their second competitive victory over Cork in three years.
Liam McGrath was the star of the show kicking 2-5 as Tipperary, in their first Division 2 game since 2010, claimed maximum points.
Two Stephen Sherlock points within 80 seconds of the restart had Cork three in front (0-11 to 0-8), but Tipperary took over thereafter, outscoring the hosts by 2-5 to 0-1 from the 38th to the 53rd minute.
Liam McGrath finished their opening goal on 43 minutes, seconds after Conor Sweeney had rattled the crossbar with a thundering shot.
Their second green flag resulted from a Cork mistake, Michael Quinlivan punishing the error with a sweet curling effort off the right. Come the 53rd minute, the Premier men led 2-13 to 0-12.
Colm O’Neill pulled back a goal almost immediately for the Rebels and they could have had a second as Stephen Sherlock tipped his effort onto the post. Two points was as close as they’d get, Liam McGrath’s second goal on 68 minutes sealing a precious victory for last year’s Division 3 champions.
Tipperary won the toss and elected to play with the wind in the first-half. Shooting into the Blackrock End, Liam Kearns’ charges opened promisingly and Steven O’Brien, in his first game back with the footballers since the summer of 2015, had Tipperary on the board inside 13 seconds.
Further scores from Liam McGrath, Michael Quinlivan (‘45) and Jack Kennedy propelled them 0-4 to 0-1 clear by the ninth minute.
They would not, however, add to their tally again until the 22nd minute, by which juncture Cork had kicked six-in-a-row.
Debutants Sean White and Sean Sherlock (free) were among the contributors during this spell of supremacy, with Mark Collins landing a pair.
Liam McGrath (0-2, 0-1 free), Liam Boland and Jack Kennedy had the margin back to the minimum, 0-9 to 0-8 as the call for half-time approached and the visitors were fortunate this remained the deficit as Evan Comerford repelled a Stephen Sherlock penalty in injury-time after Sean Powter had been pushed by Robbie Kiely.
Tipperary had goal chances of their own throughout the half, with Mark White denying Josh Keane on one occasion. The full-back line, in particular Michael McSweeney, did well to dispossess Michael Quinlivan and Conor Sweeney at vital moments.
It was a completely different story upon the change of ends.
Scorers for Cork: S Sherlock (0-5, 0-3 frees); M Collins (0-4 each); C O’Neill (1-1); S White (0-2); S Powter, R Deane, J O’Rourke (0-1 each).
Scorers for Tipperary: L McGrath (2-5, 0-2 free); M Quinlivan (1-2, 0-1 ‘45); J Kennedy (0-3, 0-2 frees); C Sweeney (0-2, 0-1 free); S O’Brien, L Boland, B Fox (0-1 each).
Cork: M White; S Ryan, J O’Sullivan, M McSweeney; K Flahive, K Crowley, B O’Driscoll; I Maguire, D O’Callaghan; S White, S Powter, R Deane; J O’Rourke, M Collins, S Sherlock.
Subs: C O’Neill for Powter (48 mins, inj); C O’Hanlon for O’Callaghan (50); M Hurley for O’Rourke (53); T Clancy for B O’Driscoll (58); K O’Driscoll for S White (64); C Dorman for Maguire (66, inj)
Tipperary: E Comerford; S O’Connell, A Campbell, E Moloney; J Feehan, R Kiely, B Maher; S O’Brien, J Kennedy; L Boland, J Keane, B Fox; M Quinlivan, C Sweeney, L McGrath.
Subs: L Casey for Boland (HT); J Meagher for Feehan (43); K Fahey for Kiely (62); B Martin for L McGrath (70); G Hannigan for O’Brien (70)
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).
Meanwhile, Clare and Cavan have shared the spoils in their Division Two clash in the National Football League.
It finished Clare 1-12 Cavan 2-9 at Cusack Park