IT may have taken a 43rd minute Jody Ryan penalty to finally kill off All Ireland champions Cork, but Tipperary were always the slicker movers in this lively and free-flowing Munster IHC semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday, fully meriting their passage to a final date with either Clare or Limerick.
Superb performances from Evan Hanley and Jim Bob McCarthy in defence; Timmy Minogue at midfield and Cathal Dillon, David Morrissey and free taker Jody Ryan up front, ensured Cork were under constant pressure, with the sublime finishing of centre-forward Dillon late on making sure there would be no late Rebel resurgence.
Goal chances were at a premium — though Cork full-forward John Paul Murphy did spurn two good opportunities in the opening half — but Cork were far too loose around midfield, paving the way for some easy Premier scores. Over the hour, nine Tipp players found the target — only Noel Hogan failing to raise a flag.
A free flowing opening half, the scores coming at rapid pace with Tipp quickly out of the blocks. Points from Dillon, Minogue, Patrick Maher and Michael Harding had them in the early ascendancy, with Minogue and Harding dictating matters around the middle of the park against a very loose Cork pairing of Desmond and Jer O’Leary, who started in place of Stephen White.
But slowly Cork battled back and thanks to some smart play by Maurice O’Sullivan, Adrian Mannix and Jonathon O’Callaghan up front, led 0-7 to 0-6 after the opening quarter — Mannix firing over three points and O’Callaghan two. It got even better for Cork when Mannix and Peter O’Brien stretched their lead, but slowly a well focused Tipp side, with Hanley excellent at wing back, took over. Murphy did have those two goal chances for Cork, but the accuracy of Jody Ryan from frees ensured Tipp regained their lead until a late Cork point from O’Leary tied up the scores at 0-11 apiece at the break.
Desmond, who had a disappointing game, put Cork back into the lead with two points after the resumption, but there was no getting away from a determined Tipp side as points from Minogue, Hanley and Morrissey fired them clear again. With the scores now at 0-14 apiece, the turning point came in the 43rd minute when some dazzling play from corner-forward Maher opened up the Cork defence and when full-back Ross Cashman was penalised Jody Hayes fired the resultant penalty to the net.
Leading 1-15 to 0-14 entering the final quarter, Tipp upped the ante and with McCarthy outstanding at centre-back there was no way through for the Cork attack. Two excellent points from Peter O’Brien did get it back to a two point game, but Dillon took charge in the final minutes and four outstanding points on the trot from the Tipp centre-forward put an end to Cork’s challenge.
Scorers for Tipperary:J Ryan 1-4 (0-4 frees, 1-0 pen), C. Dillon 0-6, G. Ryan 0-3, T Minogue and D. Morrissey 0-2 each, M. Harding, E Hanley P. Maher, R. O’Meara 0-1 each,
Scorers for Cork: A. Mannix 0-5 (0-3 frees), L. Desmond 0-4, P. O’Brien 0-3, J. O’Leary (0-1 free), J. O’Callaghan 0-2 each, J. P. Murphy 0-1
M Ryan; L Mackey, M Costello, M Phelan; E Hanley, J McCarthy, J Lillis; T Minogue, M Harding; N Hogan, C Dillon, G Ryan; J Ryan, D Morrissey, P Maher (0-1).
Subs: R Sherlock for Phelan (15 min), R O’Meara for Harding (44 min), T Dalton for J Ryan (59 min)
M Collins; J Crowley, R Cashman, C O’Driscoll; J Hughes, P Dwyer, B Murphy; J O’Leary, L Desmond; R Dwyer, P O’Brien, A Mannix; M O’Sullivan, J.P. Murphy, J O’Callaghan.
Subs: E Collins for O’Leary (45 min), B Coleman for Murphy (55 min), D Dwyer for Mannix (56 min).
P Casey (Waterford)