Tipperary produced a blistering second-half performance – Liam Cahill’s young charges outscored their opponents by 0-14 to 0-3 from the 33rd minute onwards — to send Cork packing from the Munster championship and, in the process, set up a final date with Limerick, writes Eoghan Cormican.
Cork, following three unanswered points from Evan Sheehan (0-2) and Jack O’Connor within as many minutes of the restart, were 1-12 to 0-9 clear and well on the road to a first Munster minor final since 2008.
Josh Beausang’s fortuitous goal on 28 minutes, arriving as it did off the back of a mistake in the Tipperary defence, had provided Cork with a shot of brio which was then added to by Sheehan’s interval introduction.
What followed thereafter was as much Cork collapsing as it was Tipperary assuming control in each of the key sectors. Management, too, can take credit in their astonishing comeback effort — subs Cian Flanagan and Dylan Walsh contributed five points between them when sprung from the bench.
Four of said scores arrived during the first of Tipperary’s mini-spurts which would dominate the second-half plot. Added to a Lyndon Fairbrother free, the five unanswered points had the Premier boys back within the minimum of Cork on 38 minutes.
A Beausang free on 40 minutes served as a temporary band aid on the cut. The bleeding, though, simply couldn’t be stopped and Cork would add to their tally on only two further occasions in the remaining 20 minutes of action.
The second Tipperary burst yielded four without reply — Cian Darcy and three from the stick of full-forward Fairbrother steering Cahill’s side into a 0-18 to 1-13 lead.
Cork again attempted to cover the wound. Beausang (free), one of Cork’s better performers on the evening, particularly in the first-half, and Matthew Bradley split the posts in successive plays to tie matters at 1-15 to 0-18.
With the clock reading 52 minutes, the next punch had to be made count. Tipperary threw first and the connection was sweet.
Paddy Cadell tore down the right sideline before firing over a most audacious effort. Brian McGrath followed it with a monstrous free from inside his own half. Cork were sinking and the die was cast when Ger Browne and Walsh raised white flags within a minute of each other.
Denis Ring’s side went in search of goals, their efforts repelled by Tipp ’keeper Ciaran Barrett and his defence. The post-mortems on Leeside will inevitably focus on what transpired at the change of ends for there was little wrong with their first-half showing.
By the end of the first quarter, a 0-5 to 0-2 lead had been established; full-forward Beausang accounting for all but one of this opening flutter. The visitors roared back with three in-a-row from Darcy, Fairbrother (free) and Doody.
Rebel ’keeper Ger Collins produced a fine double-save to deny Darcy in the ensuing play, luck appearing to side with the home outfit under the rain. Both sides traded blow for blow until Beausang whipped to the net — the scoreboard read 1-9 to 0-9 at the interval.
The second period went to Tipperary by unanimous decision, Cork left to ponder a third successive Munster semi-final defeat. Of the three, this one will hurt the most.
Winning mamager Liam Cahill hailed the “complete” display of his troops in the second-half, Denis Ring lamented Cork’s “terrible collapse”.
“Physically, we were blown out of it,” said Ring. “Their half-back line and midfield took over. We were losing every break around the middle. We were in a very good position and to lose it from there was terrible.”
Over to the seniors.
Scorers for Tipperary: L Fairbrother (0-10, 0-8 frees); D Walsh (0-4); B McGrath (0-1 free, 0-1 ’65), C Darcy (0-2 each); C Flanagan, P Cadell, G Browne (0-1 free), M Kehoe, R Doody (0-1 each).
Scores for Cork: J Beausang (1-7, 0-6 frees); J O’Connor (0-3); E Sheehan (0-2); L Healy, M Bradley, D Gunning (0-1 each).
Cork: G Collins (Ballinhassig); P Lyons (Mallow), N O’Leary (Castlelyons), D Guiney (Shandrum); J Cooper (Éire Óg), S O’Leary Hayes (Midleton), E Clifford (Cloughduv); L Healy (Sarsfields), C O’Mahony (Ballinhassig); S Condon (Habour Rovers), M Bradley (Aghabullogue), T Deasy (Blackrock); J O’Connor (Sarsfields), J Beausang (St Colman’s), D Gunning (Na Piarsaigh).
Subs: R Howell (Douglas) for Lyons (HT); E Sheehan (Na Piarsaigh) for Condon (HT); J Saich (Kilworth) for O’Mahony (40); B Turnball (Douglas) for Healy (49); J Geary (Shandrum) for Gunning (58).
Tipperary: C Barrett (Clonmel Óg); K O’Dwyer (Killenaule), M Whelan (Carrick Davins), G Dunne (Holycross-Ballycahill); J Cahill (Kilruane McDonaghs), B McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney); P Cadell (JK Brackens), G Browne (Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams); R Doody (Cappawhite), C English (Fr Sheehy’s), M Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash); E Barry (Killenaule), L Fairbrother (JK Brackens), C Darcy (Kilruane McDonaghs).
Subs: C Flanagan (Newport) for English (27 mins); D Walsh (Ballingarry) for Barry (HT); K Breen (Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams) for Dunne (34); S Neville (Lattin/Cullen) for Morris (47); C Stakelum (Thurles Sarsfields) for Doody (60).
Referee: J Murphy (Limerick).