It looked an unlikely result with 10 minutes to go, with the defending champions seven points in front. However, the home side put in a storming finish to leave Tipperary shell-shocked.
Cork had many heroes but centre-back Eoin Cadogan was majestic in the pivotal position. Displaying incredible heart and commitment, he regularly broke up Tipp attacks and he capped a magnificent night with a superb long-range point in the second half.
Brian Moylan on Cadogan’s right and Aidan Ryan on his left also played major roles; Leigh Desmond’s contribution of four points from midfield was very significant in an area where Cork struggled throughout.
After turning over with a four-point lead, Tipp doubled it midway through the second half but then failed to withstand the Cork revival, sparked by the introductions of Colm O’Neill and Stephen Moylan.
The loss of James Woodlock with a suspected rib injury didn’t help Tipp’s cause but it was no fault of Stephen Murphy, Stephen Lillis and Darragh Ryan that they lost.
Cork captain Ken O’Halloran won the toss and elected to play into the strong wind so it was no surprise when Tipperary made the better start with Darragh Egan pointing a sideline ball after two minutes.
A minute later Cork were denied a certain goal when Pat Horgan raced clear but he was denied by a magnificent save by Tipp ‘keeper Mathew Ryan before Leigh Desmond tied the game for the first time with a point two minutes later.
It was a point apiece at the end of the opening quarter with both teams shooting three wides each.
However, as the half wore on, the Tipperary defence began to get on top with Jim Bob McCarthy particularly impressive at centre back, while the switch of Pa Bourke to full forward was hugely productive as he landed three points in-a-row.
Cork were grateful for the excellence of Cadogan and they finally got their second score of the half, a point by wing back Brian Moylan — their first for 25 minutes — which left Tipp 0-6 to 0-2 in front at the break.
The second half developed into a tremendous contest. Cork had the deficit down to the minimum by the 35th minute with two points in-a-row by Pa Cronin and a superb long-range effort by Cadogan from a free inside his own 65-metre line.
However Tipperary hit back strongly and when Stephen Lillis’s effort came back off the upright, substitute Timmy Dalton was on hand to hit the rebound to the net. And it got worse for the home side three minutes later when Lillis himself first-timed to the net after the Cork backs failed to clear.
Those goals helped Tipp to an eight-point lead, 2-8 to 0-8, and Cork were in dire need of inspiration.
Bravely, the selectors took off two senior panellists, Kevin Canty and John Halbert, and brought on Stephen Moylan and Colm O’Neill and gradually it began to change for the home side.
O’Neill’s pace down the left troubled the Tipp backs and he combined with Cathal Naughton to set up another senior panellist, Eoghan Murphy, for a rasper of a goal.
Cork picked off a succession of points and when Pat Horgan tied the game for the third time on the 60th minute, extra-time looked inevitable.
However, there was one final kick in Cork, and after Horgan was inches wide, Stephen Moylan became the hero with the winner, before Darragh Egan saw his effort for an equaliser drop short into the hand of a grateful Cork ‘keeper Ken O’Halloran.
Scorers for Cork: P. Cronin 0-5 (0-3 frees, 0-1 65); L. Desmond 0-4; E. Murphy 1-0; B. Moylan, E. Cadogan (free), C. Naughton, P. Horgan, S. Moylan 0-1 each.
Tipperary: S. Lillis 1-1; D. Egan 0-4 (0-3 frees); T. Dalton 1-0; P. Bourke 0-3; J. Woodlock, T. McGrath, 0-1 each.
K. O’Halloran; J. O’Callaghan, E. Dillon, C. O’Driscoll; B. Moylan, E. Cadogan, A. Ryan; L. Desmond, J. Halbert; P. Cronin, F. O’Leary, K. Canty; P. Horgan, E. Murphy, C. Naughton.
Subs: S. Moylan for Halbert; C. O’Neill for O’Leary; A. Mannix for Canty.
M. Ryan; B. Maher, S. Murphy, M. Gleeson; J. McLoughney, JB McCarthy, T. Stapleton; J. Wooklock, S. Lellis; R. O’Dwyer, T. McGrath, D. Egan; P. Bourke, D. O’Hanlon, D. Hickey.
Subs: T. Dalton for O’Hanlon; K. Lanigan for Woodlock; E. Hogan for McLoughney, G. Ryan for McGrath.
A. Heagney (Clare)