“Had we not spurned two goal chances in the second-half we might have won,” said McCarthy. “When we look back on the game we’ll be disappointed at not getting something from it. We created enough chances to win it.
“The game was competitive right to the end and when you consider we were without six first team players, I’m delighted with our overall performance.”
Tipp’s first goal chance came just after the resumption. Struggling to stay in touch after Sean O’Brien finished off a great Cork move for the game’s only goal, giving his side a 1-5 to 0-2 lead, Declan Browne was only inches away from a goal when he took a quick free as the home defenders argued with the referee.
With a couple of minutes to go after Tipperary had reduced the deficit to four points, Cork wing-back Sean Levis completely misjudged the hop of the ball which left Eamon Hanrahan in a one-on-one situation with Cork ‘keeper Paddy O’Shea. Making his senior debut, the St Vincent’s man went down bravely at the feet of the Tipp midfielder to make a super save.
Understandably, Cork coach Billy Morgan was not too impressed with his charges. “After doing so well against Tralee I was hoping to improve. But we fell way short. We were short a number of key players, notably Nicholas Murphy, and are in experimental mode at the moment. But some of the football was very poor. Importantly, the win means we get to play another competitive match next week against Limerick and that will bring us right into the start of the National League.”
There were a few pluses for Cork. Ger Spillane continues to grow in stature at centre-back; Kevin McMahon fitted in nicely at midfield, while Kevin O’Sullivan had a good outing in attack. Robert O’Mahony, scoring hero from the Tralee game, failed to get on the score sheet and was substituted.
In the opening half Cork found scores hard to come by and could only manage a 0-4 to 0-2 half-time lead after Tipperary led 0-2 to 0-1 at the end of the first quarter. The game and Cork improved on the changeover and when Brendan Jer O’Sullivan put Sean O’Brien in for a goal, it looked as if they would win comfortably. But Tipperary weren’t ready to roll over and a subdued Declan Browne, well policed by Graham Canty, was only inches away from a goal with a quick free as the Cork defence argued with the ref.
Cork were grateful for excellent defending by Ger Spillane and Canty as Tipp came in search of a goal. Browne, without a score for 40 minutes, eventually got on the score sheet with a point and, as the pace of Tipperary’s game quickened, he added two more.
Cork struggled as the visitors came forward in waves, but Tipp missed a glorious chance of a goal when Hanrahan failed in his in a duel with goalkeeper Paddy O’Shea, marking his first competitive appearance between the posts with a superb save.
Cork finished with two late points to win by six - not a true reflection of Tipperary’s effort.
: Cork: K. O’Sullivan 0-3 (0-1 free); S. O’Brien 1-0; J. Masters 0-2 (0-1 free); G. Spillane, C. McCarthy, D. Duggan 0-1 each. Tipperary: D. Browne 0-3 (0-2 frees); D. O’Brien, E. Hanrahan 0-1 each.
: P. O’Shea; M. Prout, G. Canty, D. Duggan; O. Sexton, G. Spillane, S. Levis; D. Hurley, K. McMahon; C. McCarthy, BJ O’Sullivan, S. O’Brien; J. Masters, K. O’Sullivan, R. O’Mahony. Subs:A. Cronin for O’Brien; G. Murphy for Sexton; W. Morgan for O’Mahony.
: P. Fitzgerald; M. Phelan, N. Kelly, A. Morrissey; P. Morrissey, R. Costigan, C. Maher; E. Hanrahan, K. Quinlan; B. Hickey, N. Fitzgerald, H. Coughlan; S. Murphy, D. Browne, D. O’Brien. Subs:. N. Curran for Quinlan; P. King for Coughlan; L. Bannon for Murphy; G. Hannigan for H. Fitzgerald.
: D. Lynch (Kerry).