The fine line between victory and calamity was embodied by that final goal-line stand, as Cork clung on for a much-needed win. Forget style, that was all that mattered.
The standard of football was poor here and while hope springs eternal, realism says much-improved performances will be needed to save either of these two from relegation. Sean Powter’s extra game-time and Michael Quinlivan’s return should help though.
Ronan McCarthy’s management faced some severe criticism at the Cork County Board meeting midweek, but this victory at least showed a response from his group. Some shrewd sideline moves helped to secure it too.
Three of Tipp’s five forwards, Liam Boland, Liam McGrath and Philip Austin, were kept scoreless. With places up for grabs, more is needed.
Tipperary’s injury crisis is set to ease with Michael Quinlivan set for a first League start against Kildare. He returned to training last week after a knee-meniscus operation. He’ll be joined by Evan Comerford, Paudie Feehan, and Gavin Whelan, while Shane O’Connell may also return.
Ronan McCarthy’s decision to push up on Tipperary paid dividends, penning an overly cautious opposition back for long periods. Conor Sweeney caused Kevin Flahive problems in the opening ten minutes, but switching Conor Dennehy on to him limited the damage.
BEST ON SHOW
Cork’s defence, particularly Kevin Crowley, had a good day, but in an error-strewn contest, Luke Connolly’s class told at centre-forward.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Fergal Smyth did a good job of policing the attacking mark, including turning down two claims for marks kicked from inside the ‘45. The odd call aside, it was a good night’s work.
A break, albeit brief, before Cork welcome Donegal to Páirc Uí Rinn, and Tipperary travel to Newbridge to face Kildare on March 16.