O’Sullivan and Sexton lead Rebels’ second-half surge

CORK’S production line at intermediate hurling level continues to be in fine working order as evidenced by this victory over Tipperary in yesterday at Semple Stadium.

Cork were All-Ireland champions two years ago and it was only at the final stage that they came unstuck against Kilkenny last season. Their aspirations of an extended run this year received an early boost as they clinically dispatched a Tipperary team who failed to benefit from a new ruling that allowed them to draw on players from senior clubs.

Pat Kenneally’s Cork team performed impressively in the second-half as they took control of a game that had been delicately balanced at the interval when Tipperary lead 1-8 to 1-7. Indeed but for a late Tipperary rally that saw substitute Liam Dwan strike a goal and Johnny Ryan rifle over a free, Cork’s ultimate winning margin would have been greater.

The visitors starting 15 was sprinkled with players from recent U21 teams and the youthful streak through their side was reflected in their dynamic second-half play. The half-forward line of David Drake, Michael O’Sullivan and Colm Casey always posed a danger and contributed a combined total of 2-7. In defence captain Ross Cashman gave a dominant display while midfielder Maurice Sexton was heavily involved throughout.

Cork started brightly and raised the game’s opening green flag in the ninth minute when O’Sullivan bundled home after an incisive run by Jamie Wall. That left Cork ahead by 1-2 to 0-2 and the relentless accuracy of Sexton from placed balls ensured Cork lead 1-5 to 0-5 by the 20th minute.

However Tipperary enjoyed their best spell of the match before the interval. Joey McLoughney and Johnny Ryan started to dictate matters in their sectors and up front the Tipperary attack began to cut open the Cork rearguard. Their efforts were rewarded in the 27th minute when Phillip Austin surged through, offloaded to Phillip Ivors who booted to the net.

An excellent point by Johnny Ryan capped Tipperary’s comeback as they overhauled Cork to lead 1-8 to 1-7 at the break. Indeed Tipperary’s position could have been embellished further had they not been wasteful in front of goal in the closing stages of the half with Daragh Hickey and Austin both spurning opportunities to grab valuable goals.

In the second-half Cork upped the tempo. Drake, O’Sullivan and Brian Corry snapped over quick points and their fortunes improved significantly when Seamus Corry floated in a ball that broke kindly for Casey whose drive into the far corner of the net propelled Cork ahead by 2-10 to 1-8. Tipperary’s response was points by substitute Brian Fox and Ivors.

That would prove to be as close as they got to Cork though. Tony Murphy, Sexton, Drake and Casey all helped Cork string together a superb run of points and by the 55th minute they were 2-16 to 1-11 to the good. Tipperary’s late scoring spree proved immaterial as Cork advanced to a semi-final meeting with Clare.

Scorers for Cork: M O’Sullivan 1-2, M Sexton 0-5 (4f), C Casey 1-1, D Drake 0-4 (0-1 sideline), T Murphy 0-2, J Wall, B Corry 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: P Ivors 1-2, L Dwan 1-0, R McLoughney (2f), J Ryan (1f) 0-2 each, J McLoughney, T Stapleton (f), P O’Dwyer, D Hickey, E Sweeney, B Fox 0-1 each.

CORK: D McCarthy; J Carey, R Cashman, S White; T Healy, M Ellis, S Corry; B Corry, M Sexton; D Drake, M O’Sullivan, C Casey; J Wall, T Murphy, B Lawton.

Subs: B Withers for White (half-time), E Conway for O’Sullivan (60).

TIPPERARY: J Logue; A Byrnes, G Hannigan, K Maher; J Moloughney, T Stapleton, R Sherlock; J Ryan, P O’Dwyer; D Hickey, W O’Dwyer, P Austin; E Sweeney, P Ivors, R McLoughney.

Subs: B Fox for P O’Dwyer (27), D O’Brien for Austin (40), D O’Brien for W O’Dwyer (47), L Dwan for R McLoughney (50), T Dalton for Ivors (55).

Referee: D O’Driscoll (Limerick)


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