Cork manager John Meyler paid tribute to Tipperary yesterday after the Premier County’s victory in Páirc Ui Chaoimh, picking out their “clinical” second goal as the key moment in the game.
“I was happy at half-time,” said Meyler. “The wind was picking up and I felt that if we got back in at half-time and reorganised and resettled, get focused again (we had a good chance) but Tipp just came out of the blocks again.
“I thought they might tire in the second half because they had put an awful lot of energy into the first half but they didn’t.
John McGrath finishes off a sublime Tipperary attack as Liam Sheedy's press home their advantage against Cork— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) May 12, 2019
Watch match highlights of @OfficialCorkGAA and @TipperaryGAA on @rte2 tonight at 9.30pm pic.twitter.com/KSatqTQM2M
“That [second] goal was clinical and that gave them a cushion going into the end. I thought Séamus’s (Harnedy) goal, then, coming towards the end of the second half would have given us momentum. Soon after he (the referee) gave the free out. We’d have got it back to three or four points then and we would have had more momentum but it wasn’t to be.”
Where did Tipp’s energy come from?
“Look there’s that experience there of winning All-Irelands,” said Meyler.
The Mahers and that, the two McGraths and that. These are really, really good players who’ve been there, done that plus you had the experience of Liam Sheedy and Eamonn O’Shea on the sideline as well.
After last year’s defeats in Munster, that focus and that hunger was really there for Tipperary. And we didn’t match that.
Meyler was disappointed by the lack of Cork goal chances: “You need to keep the scoreboard ticking over. You need to keep doing that and if goalscoring opportunities come then take them. Séamus’s goal was really good but that’s it.”
The Cork manager was left to rue the loss of Bill Cooper before the start with a back spasm: “It just meant reorganising, Bill is a fantastic player and a leader of the team so it was a massive loss for us. But we just had to reorganise, and put Luke (Meade) back into midfield. He played quite well I thought but we lost that at half-forward and we lost Bill at midfield. But that’s not an excuse, really, you have to be able to lose one or two players through injury or whatever, and that was it.”
Debutant Niall O’Leary’s display was a plus, he added: “The pluses were Sean O’Donoghue, Cadogan, and Niall O’Leary. Niall O’Leary on his debut as a 21-year-old was really, really good. But just further out the field were where the problems arose and we need to rectify that before next Sunday because Limerick will be hopping in the Gaelic Grounds.”