Tipp’s intensity far too much for Rebels

The curtain-raiser at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday, the Munster IHC semi-final, went Tipperary’s way after beating Cork.

Though only five points separated them at the end, the outcome was never in doubt as Tipp led from start to finish. Greater attacking power was key for Tipp, with Kieran Morris, Seán Carey, Michael Heffernan and David Butler all impressing, Cork having to rely on Adrian Mannix for much of their output, Tipp’s greater physicality styming them.

Tipp laid the foundations with an impressive wind-assisted first-half performance, 13 points separating the sides at the interval. The first blow was struck as early as the third minute when Heffernan’s delivery was smartly won by Butler and he had the pace to outstrip the Cork defence and fire past Stephen Nyhan.

That opened up a 1-1 to 0-0 lead and while Cork got off the mark through Michael O’Sullivan and Mannix, two fine Heffernnan efforts pushed Tipp clear again. Then, in the 13th minute, Joe Gallagher added a second goal to make it 2-4 to 0-2, profiting from a slip by full-back Darragh Rodgers.

Tipp’s intensity was far sharper than their hosts, with attackers given plenty of time and space with scoring attempts, and while Cork were doing okay in midfield, everywhere else the visitors were on top.

Points in the 20th minute from Michael Gleeson and Carey cancelled out scores from Mannix and Séamus Harnedy. Though Cork responded through Olann Kelleher, Carey’s goal, when he sent a nice ground shot to the net after another Heffernan ball wasn’t dealt with, made it 3-6 to 0-5.

Despite Cork moving corner-forward David Drake to the middle sector, Tipp continued to dominate and Butler (two), Morris and Carey added further points before Mannix pulled one back with a free for Cork in injury time.

Cork made three substitutions at half-time, having already brought on Maurice O’Sullivan in the first-half, and also rejigged their attack, Michael O’Sullivan moving to centre-forward while Harnedy went from the edge of the square to the left wing.

After Mannix and Morris had shared four points in the opening stages, Cork got a glimmer of hope when Harnedy caught Ronan Sherlock in possession and set up Colm Casey for a well-taken goal, Mannix’s 20m free immediately after that cutting the gap to nine.

Tipperary were not as clinical as in the first-half, while the Cork defence had tightened considerably, full-back Rodgers winning a number of balls with Stpehen White also assertive.

Though they did get the gap down to six points in the 54th minute, three from Mannix and one by Casey reducing Tipp’s lead to 3-16 to 1-16, Cork never looked like doing anything other than limiting the damage.

Just in case there were any doubts, Heffernan and Morris pushed Tipp clear again, Harnedy giving Cork a late consolation with a 62nd-minute goal which James Logue looked to have saved only for it to creep over the line.

Tipp now face Clare in the provincial final.

Scorers for Tipperary: K Morris 0-6 (0-4f, 0-1 65), S Carey, D Butler 1-3 each, M Heffernan 0-4, J Gallagher 1-0, M Gleeson 0-2.

Scorers for Cork: A Mannix 0-9 (0-2f), S Harnedy 1-2, C Casey 1-1, Michael O’Sullivan 0-2, D Drake, O Kelleher 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: J Logue; G Walsh, K O’Gorman, C Coughlan; J Barry, E Connolly, R Sherlock; M Gleeson, P White; M Heffernan, D O’Brien, S Carey; K Morris, J Gallagher, D Butler.

Subs: C Dillon for O’Brien (29-30, blood), R Ruth for O’Brien (40), J Sheedy for Gallagher (53), C Haugh for Sherlock (55), Dillon for Ruth (57), N Teehan for Barry (60).

CORK: S Nyhan; B Withers, D Rodgers, B O’Sullivan; J Jordan, V Hurley, S White; Michael O’Sullivan, B Lawton; O Kelleher, M Sugrue, A Mannix; C Casey, S Harnedy, D Drake.

Subs: Maurice O’Sullivan for Kelleher (23), C O’Driscoll for Withers, T Healy for Jordan, J Budds for Sugrue (all half-time), B Coleman for Hurley (52).

Referee: D O’Driscoll (Limerick).

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