Stephen Barry picks out three takeaways after Tipperary snatched a draw against Cork in Thurles.
We’ll leave aside the fact that Jake Morris’ equaliser split the posts clear as day, making one wonder why HawkEye was required at all. No harm in double-checking and all that. But that shouldn’t have been the final play. HawkEye was signalled for with 40 seconds remaining on the clock.
Had HawkEye not been called for, we’d have had an extra play. Tipperary deserved their chance to push for a comeback-completing winner. Cork deserved their right to re-establish a lead once more. Such an enthralling encounter should’ve been allowed to play out its finale, win, lose or draw. We’ll never know how it could’ve ended.
It’s been two years since Tipperary last showed their full scope in championship fare. That 2016 All-Ireland final win over Kilkenny has not been built upon to its potential, but perhaps the minors who also lit up Croke Park that day could be the answer. They were endlessly impressive in a year which included the seven-goal rout of Galway.
Yesterday, we saw the first flash from that team at senior level to end an impressive, if belated, backlash. Jake Morris, who was only recently called into the panel, has the potential to be the real deal. So do fellow panellists Ger Browne, Mark Kehoe and a few others.
Having been in position to complete back-to-back victories in Thurles, a second-half deficit of 0-8 to 1-14 fell far below Cork’s standards. They had their chances to kill off Tipperary and send them into crisis but didn’t do so. A fair share of wrong options and needless turnovers contributed to that but Tipp forced them into mistakes too. What happens most recently remains in the mind longer, however, it’s not just about how Cork lost their lead, but how they rebuilt a three-point cushion before Tipp’s final charge.
It shouldn’t just be about Sean O’Donoghue fumbling with the ball late on but his two second-half block-downs. It shouldn’t just be about the goals conceded but Anthony Nash’s mind-bogging reaction save, nor the scores conceded but Shane Kingston’s 1-5.
They withstood a Tipperary storm and emerged in good nick. If they can make a few fixes, there’s so much to work with.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.