EAMONN CORCORAN has been part of the Tipperary scene for almost a decade and would be regarded, along with Brendan Cummins, as one of the veterans.
Yesterday, at a crucial time, the JK Brackans split the uprights with a superb sideline cut, to emphatically prove he still has a lot to contribute.
“I was delighted with that score,” said Corcoran. “Sometimes they go over, other times they don’t, but today was one of days when everything went right for us, particularly in the last 10 minutes.
“Everything we did seemed to work; the subs who came on got scores, we defended well when the need arose, and got away with making a couple of silly mistakes that on another day could prove costly.
“The view in our camp coming down was that if we were with Cork going into the closing minutes we would be in with a great chance of winning the game.
“We had put in a tremendous effort in training during the winter months and our fitness would never be in question. We had worked extremely hard on our hurling also, and it all came together today which is brilliant.
“Looking back on the game now, we were chasing it for most of the first half. Cork were flying it and it wasn’t looking good for us. But as so often happens in hurling, small things can change a game, and Eoin Kelly’s goal was the real turning point for me.
“This Tipperary team is completely different to those of the past. They’ve a great belief in their own ability all season, knowing that the training has been done and that they can come back from being down.
“Eoin Kelly’s goal was a tonic score, but he always comes up with one of those just at the right time, and to go in a point down at half time was a big boost to us because we hadn’t hurled at all in that first half.
“The second half developed into a tremendous contest with both sides matching each other point for point, and I felt that if we didn’t concede a second goal we were in with a right chance of winning.
“Brendan Cummins made a great save for us, our backs tightened up considerably and our fitness, particularly in the closing 10 minutes or so was crucial.
“Cork appeared to run out of options and we finished strongly which is always the hallmark of a good team. I can go back a long way now but it’s been years since I’ve seen such camaraderie in a Tipperary dressingroom.
“We have a panel of 33 players, three of whom couldn’t tog out today, but they were just as happy as any of the others at winning. You look around you here right now and see what the victory over Cork means to Tipperary people.
“It’s been a long time coming, but as Liam Sheedy said in the dressingroom, we have nothing to show for it. It was only a first round championship game, and there is still an awful lot of hurling to be done.
“Whoever we meet in the final, be it Limerick or Clare, that’s going to be another massive game for us.
“We’ll concentrate on getting ready for it next week, but today’s result is a tremendous boost to the team, particularly the younger lads, who are sampling Munster senior hurling championship for the first time.”
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