Brian Herlihy’s young charges had travelled in expectation of a serious challenge, an examination similar to what last year’s class had been subjected to when these counties met at this very juncture. That particular quarter-final ended with a winning margin of three points for Cork.
It wasn’t so close on this occasion. Not by a long shot.
The visitors finished 19 points clear. In truth, the gap could have been even greater. The winners, in front of a crowd of 1,158, kicked 15 wides, while second-half sub Cillian Myers-Murray blasted a goal chance wide in the final quarter. Colm O’Callaghan, too, could have opted for goal when kicking the last two of his three points. That manager Brian Herlihy was able to empty his bench by the 49th minute tells you how dominant Cork were and, equally, how poor Tipperary were.
This was a throwback to the dark old days when Premier football teams were routinely routed by Cork and Kerry. The home outfit kicked only two scores in the opening 20 minutes and only three scores in the closing 20 minutes. Matt O’Dohery’s side meet either Clare or Waterford on April 26 and the manager has some job on his hands to lift morale after this bruising annihilation.
It was effectively game over at half-time as the visitors held a 1-9 to 0-4 advantage and such was the lack of oomph in the Tipperary play that there was nothing to suggest a comeback of any sorts would materialise after the break.
The home side struggled desperately around midfield, especially under their own kick-out. Cork’s midfield pair of Ryan Walsh and Mark Keane, along with half-forward Colm O’Callaghan, won restart after restart. And with half-backs Jason Harrington and Jack McCarthy bursting off the shoulder each time, the Tipperary defence found themselves scrambling on numerous occasions to block the Cork runners coming from deep.
It all contributed to a constant supply of ball into Cork’s inside line, with Mark Cronin, Cathal O’Mahony, and Damien Gore finishing the half with 1-6 between them. That tally had risen to 3-13 by the final whistle. The Rebels’ opening four points arrived via the dead ball, with each member of that full-forward line throwing over a free, two in the case of full-forward Cathal O’Mahony.
Ryan Lambe kicked the home outfit’s opener eight minutes in. He was one of only two Tipperary players to score from play in the first half an hour.
Mark Cronin supplied Cork’s opening goal on 16 minutes, taking the pass from Damien Gore after a fine through ball from centre-back Peter O’Driscoll. Defenders Jack McCarthy and Dylan Ward had written their names onto the scoresheet by half-time. There was no let-up in the pressure applied upon the change of ends, the winners outscoring their opponents by 2-7 to 0-2 in the first 17 minutes of the second period.
Evan Murphy turned over Tipperary defender Paul Devlin in the build-up to Cork’s second goal, Cronin applying the finish for his second green flag of the evening. Gore delivered their third major, Jack McCarthy instrumental in the creation of the score. The visitors finished with nine scorers in total, subs Colm Barrett and Cillian Myers-Murray making an impression when sprung.
Adam McGrath landed a consolation goal 10 minutes from time. It made no difference. This was an evening to forget for Tipperary football.
M Cronin (2-4, 0-2 frees); D Gore (1-5, 0-2 frees); C O’Mahony (0-4, 0-2 frees); C O’Callaghan (0-3); D Ward, J McCarthy, E Murphy, C Barrett, C Myers-Murray (0-1 each).
R Lambe (0-3); A McGrath (1-0); S Ryan (0-2, 0-2 frees); R Quigley, C Kennedy, M Stokes (0-1 each).
K McMahon (Kilshannig); L Finn (Mitchelstown), W Ronan (Kilmurry), D Ward (Douglas); J Harrington (Adrigole), P O’Driscoll (Ilen Rovers), J McCarthy (Carrigaline); R Walsh (Kanturk), M Keane (Mitchelstown); J Murphy (Éire Óg), E Murphy (Dromtariffe), C O’Callaghan (Éire Óg); M Cronin (Nemo Rangers), C O’Mahony (Mitchelstown), D Gore (Kilmacabea).
C Barrett (St Finbarr’s) for J Murphy (39 mins); C Myers-Murray (St Finbarr’s) for O’Mahony (41); S Meehan (Kiskeam) for Harrington (42); D O’Mahony (Knocknagree) for Ronan (45); J Corcoran (Nemo Rangers) for Finn (45); D Moynihan (Ballydesmond) for E Murphy (49).
J Dolan (Fethard); J Harney (Moyle Rovers), S Grogan (Cahir), J Ryan (Boherlahan-Dualla); R Quigley (Moyle Rovers), P Devlin (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill), E McBride (JK Brackens); C Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials), J Flannery (Galtee Rovers); D Mulcahy (Moyle Rovers), S Ryan (Galtee Rovers), C Boland (Clonmel Commercials); M Stokes (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), R Lambe (Clonmel Commercials), D Tynan (Inane Rovers).
D Bolger (Moyle Rovers) for Quigley (HT); C O’Sullivan (Clonmel Óg) for McBride, A McGrath (Galtee Rovers) for Tynan (both 38); D O’Leary (Ardfinnan) for Devlin (46); C McKenna (Cahir) for Ryan (48); L Cleary (Borrisokane) for Harney (50).
R Moloney (Limerick).