Rebels motor on but need to find another gear

By Tony Leen

Rebels motor on but need to find another gear

By Tony Leen

Cork 1-18 Tipperary 3-08

The measure of Tipperary's football new dawn was evident in the crowd milling around Pairc Ui Rinn before tonight’s Munster Under 21 football final.

Hope rhymes with expectation now when the next generation of Premier pretenders take the field.

Their All-Ireland minor title three summers ago did a lot more for the self-esteem of Tipperary

football than it did for bars and taverns of the county.

David Power's gatecrashers put Tipp's new wave of talent on a pedestal within the county and gave a platform to prosper beyond its borders.

Hence Power's pre-match preparations at St Michaels grounds in Mahon before last night's Under 21 final had a quiet air of readiness about it.

Many felt they were confronting the real deal in Pairc Ui Rinn last night, a Cork side that had contemptuously swept Kerry aside in Tralee.

However there was plenty on offer over sixty minutes to inform Sean Hayes' preparation for the All-Ireland semi final against Roscommon.

Not least the facile nature of Tipperary's three goals. There's plenty to salivate over for the Cork public in a crowd of over 4,000, but no one in the Cork set up will be eyeing a final yet.

In the first period, Cork's confidence looked well placed. Tipp began well but struggled to contain Cork's fluidity, best exemplified by the excellent Sean Kiely.

Nothing much about the first thirty minutes - save the unfussy finish to the net by Tipp sub Colman Kennedy five minutes before the break - suggested this final was going to be any memorable occasion for Tipperary football.

The sight of Tipp's best armed attacker, Micheal Quinlivan, wandering out in the midfield prairies looking for work was a reliable indicator of their problems.

However amid the broadway lights of Croke Park, Power has also had some dark afternoons and evenings.

There was no sense of panic at Tipperary retired to the dressing room trailing 0-12 to 1-04.

Their conviction had more than a ring of authenticity to it within eight minutes of the restart when a goal from their midfielder Steven O'Brien and a point straight afterwards from his partner in crime Colin O'Riordan had reduced the leeway to a single point. When Quinlivan levelled the game in the 40th minute, 0-13 to 2-07, the uncertainty amongst the natives was palpable.

However if their rearguard looked occasionally suspect, Cork's attack hummed sweetly all night.

None more so than corner forward Alan Cadogan, who finished with five points and the accolade of the game's most influential player. He scored one point, set up another and proved a focal point of comfort for his colleagues all night.

Though the move passed through his station, Cadigan wasn't involved in Cork's goal, which gave them decisive breathing space.

Brian O'Driscoll whose versatility saw him start on the forty, placed John Corkery who unleashed Sean Kiely to find the net in the 48th minute.

Unleash is the appropriate term too - Kiely is some athlete when at full tilt and ran Cadogan second as man of the match in my opinion - credit too to midfielder Ian Maguire.

That goal seemed to close out Tipp at 1-16 to 2-7, but again Tipperary came, with goals on their mind.

Greg Henry netted with nine minutes left to make it a one score game, but Kiely and Cadogan - fittingly - made the mathematics of the clock impossible for Tipp in the final five minutes.

Power's revolution could take an interesting turn now. The next phase for these Tipp players is senior. The trick will be bringing the cream through.

Cork's priorities are more immediate. Roscommon spies in Pairc Ui Rinn will have been both impressed and encouraged ahead of their semi final on April 19.

There's better to come from Cork's under 21's - just as their manager Sean Hayes would want it.

Scorers for Cork: D Mac Eoin (0-4 frees), A Cadogan (0-5 each), S Kiely 1-1, B O’Driscoll 0-3 (0-1 free), K Crowley 0-2, M Sugrue (0-1 free), J Corkery 0-1 each.

Tipperary: M Quinlivan 0-5 (0-3 frees), G Henry, C Kennedy 1-1 each, S O’Brien, C O’Riordan 0-1.

CORK: M Martin; J Davis, C Dorman, S Cronin; K Fulignati, S White, K Crowley; I Maguire, K O’Hanlon; M Sugrue, B O’Driscoll, S Kiely; D Mac Eoin, J Corkery, A Cadogan.

Subs: K McIntyre for Sugrue (43), D Harrington for Mac Eoin (52), K Kavanagh for Fulignati (54), D Murphy for Maguire, S Ryan for Corkery (both 60).

TIPPERARY: G Slattery; N O’Sullivan, J Feehan, C O’Sullivan; A McGuire, S Kennedy, B Maher; S O’Brien, C O’Riordan; J McGrath, I Fahey, G Henry; S Flynn, M Quinlivan, L McGrath.

Subs: J Keane for L McGrath (47), K Fahey for N O’Sullivan (50), J Lonergan for Henry (52), Fahey for J McGrath (53), L Casey for O’Riordan (56).

Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).

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