Cork just edged out All-Ireland champions Tipperary in this NHL 1A game, the 9,821 in attendance seeing an entertaining, end-to-end game.
Cork defended the Blackrock End in the first half, which began in a fusillade of scores - 0-4 to 0-3 after six minutes, Cork just ahead.
Two from Paddy Cadell pushed Tipp in front before Robbie O’Flynn rounded off a sweeping move with a good goal - 1-4 to 0-5 on ten minutes, with O’Flynn himself, Alan Cadogan, and Patrick Horgan adding points just afterwards.
By the 20th minute, Jason Forde (two), John McGrath, and Mark Kehoe replied, making it 1-7 to 0-9 before a monster free from Ronan Maher levelled it.
From then on the teams tracked each other closely, neither able to shake the other off.
In first-half injury time, Padraic Maher’s second point nudged Tipp ahead. Sub Darragh Fitzgibbon hit a fine leveller and when O’Flynn was grounded in the square, Horgan goaled from the resulting penalty: 2-13 to 0-15 at the half.
Tipp resumed with two good Cian Darcy points before Cadogan replied, and the sides went point for point: Padraic Maher’s third answered by Robbie O’Flynn’s fourth, etc: 2-16 to 0-19 on 44 minutes.
Horgan pushed Cork three ahead going into the final quarter, 2-18 to 0-21, though Tipp sub Jerome Cahill pointed almost immediately afterwards. Horgan then pointed a free from his own half in response.
Another Horgan free put Cork four ahead going into the last ten minutes. Morris and Forde (free) pointed; Horgan improvised a response: 2-21 to 0-24. John McGrath blazed over when a goal was on, Darragh Fitzgibbon responded: 2-22 to 0-25.
Sub Mark Coleman pushed Cork’s lead to four before Tipp won a penalty: ‘keeper Brian Hogan came up and goaled.
An injury to sub John O’Dwyer held the game up for several minutes late on before Patrick Collins needed to be alert to keep Cork safe, but they held out for the win.
Scorers for Cork: P. Horgan (7 frees)(1-9); R. O’Flynn (1-3); A. Cadogan (0-3); D. Fitzgibbon, S. Harnedy (0-2 each); A. Walsh, L. Meade, S. Harnedy, D. Cahalane, M. Coleman (0-1)
Scorers for Tipperary: J. Forde (3 frees), M. Kehoe, J. McGrath (0-4 each); B. Hogan (1-0, pen); P. Maher, (0-3); C. Darcy, P. Cadell, J. Morris (0-2 each); A. Flynn, J. Cahill, R. Maher (free), N. O’Meara, (0-1 each).
CORK: P. Collins, C. Spillane, R. Downey, S. O’Donoghue, C. O’Leary, T. O’Mahony, D. Cahalane, B. Cooper, L. Meade, R. O’Flynn, S. Harnedy, A. Walsh, A. Cadogan, D. Dalton, P. Horgan (c).
Subs: D. Fitzgibbon for Walsh (inj, 22); M. Coleman for O’Mahony (inj, 25); C. Lehane for Dalton (45); S. Kingston for Meade (60)
TIPPERARY: B. Hogan; Joe O’Dwyer, R. Maher, S. O’Brien, S. Kennedy, P. Maher, P. Cadell, A. Flynn, W. Connors, J. McGrath, C. Darcy, M. Breen, M. Kehoe, J. Forde (c), J. Morris.
Subs: J. Cahill for Cadell (25); N. O’Meara for Breen (32); S. Callanan for Darcy (inj, 46); B. O’Meara for Kennedy (52); John O’Dwyer for Forde (66); P. Flynn for John O’Dwyer (inj, 70).
Referee: J. Owens (Wexford)