McGrath says it’s old-style Munster championship now

Tipperary’s John McGrath described Sunday’s Munster SHC clash with Cork as a game of “two really contrasting halves”.

“Cork played a bit smarter than us in the first half. It took us until the start of the second half to cop on to what they were doing.

“We just had a few words, smartened things up a little bit, showed everything that is good about Tipp hurling in the second half.

We put in a massive effort there and are a little bit disappointed with the draw. We’ll build on that now. We’ve a big second half to work with and give us confidence going forward.

“Cork were just that bit tidier in the first half. It’s not that we needed to do anything majorly different, just tighten things up, tweak things a little bit. That allowed us to show what we can do — to express ourselves and show our true quality like we know we can.”

McGrath acknowledged the blow of the defeat to Limerick the previous weekend.

“We were massively disappointed. That’s going to give us a massive boost. The crowd were unbelievable, they rowed in behind us and drove us on that second half.

“It’s old-style Munster championship now. After losing last week they’re all must-win games if we want to stay in the championship.

Our backs were to the wall, even before the match — going in at half-time we knew we had a serious job ahead. But there’s some serious men inside in that dressing room. Everyone stood up and was counted.

They also picked out where Cork were hurting them: “Mark Ellis was a real out ball for them in the backs in the first half and we kind of tightened up on that in the second half, and really just added that extra bit of pressure and backed ourselves to go man to man and trusted ourselves and I think that showed out there in the second half.

“If we are not putting pressure on, up in the forwards, it makes the backs’ job much harder so when we put pressure on it gives them a much better opportunity to win the ball and drive out with it.

“So, we probably nailed that a little bit better in the second half and gave them an advantage back there.”

The Loughmore-Castleiney man paid tribute to Jake Morris for his late equaliser: “Yeah, we had to give him a nice little thank you when we go back in. He is not on the panel that long but you can see how sharp he was in there to knock over his point.”

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