Wasteful Tipp end up hanging on

Tipperary 0-11 Cork 0-8
Tipperary remain on course for their first Munster MFC three-in-a-row after this deserved win over a very disappointing Cork side in Semple Stadium last night, though their supporters in the attendance of 1,227 were left chewing their fingernails in a nervous final six minutes or so as a rejuvenated Cork came in search of the equaliser.

It was a poor game, very poor, neither side really impressing, though there was no disputing the better team on the night. On a perfect pitch, dry evening, Tipp led at the break by four points, 0-5 to 0-1, but it could have and should have been a lot more, eight very bad wides in that half.

Cork, meanwhile, were faring even worse, their lone point coming from raiding wing-back Sean White — a pale shadow of the side that had beaten Kerry in the opening round.

With the breeze now at their backs Cork needed a decent start to the second half — didn’t come. Instead it was Tipperary, led by captain and midfielder Colin O’Riordan (one) and silky corner-forward Alan Tynan (two), grabbing the initiative again for the home team, three unanswered points increasing the Tipp lead, 0-8 to 0-1, only five minutes into the half.

Finally, however, Cork woke up and with full-forward Michael Cahalane and super sub Aidan Moynihan leading the way, they began to eat into the Tipperary lead. By the first minute of injury-time they had it back to three points and with referee Sean Joy allowing play for another five minutes, Cork had attack after attack on the Tipp goal — all repelled.

The closest they came was a shot off the butt of the upright by corner-forward Michael Hurley and the impression at that stage was that if the game did go to extra-time then Cork would probably prevail. It didn’t happen, however, and it was only just that it didn’t because one of those Michael Cahalane points for Cork was clearly and indisputably wide.

It all left Tipperary manager Charlie McGeever a very happy man indeed, albeit more than a little relieved.

“It would have been a travesty if we’d lost that. We worked hard, but Cork were always going to come at us. They’re a big, strong, physical, hard-running side. Having seen them against Kerry our concern was about conceding goals. Cork are a goalscoring side, but I thought we defended exceptionally well against that.

“We have a very young side, two 15-year-olds starting this evening, Danny Owens, son of Johnny, and Alan Tynan. Our full-back, James Feehan, played a full match despite having dislocated his elbow only 10 days ago — that’s the dedication we’re getting from them.

“I was disappointed in the wides, disappointed too in the point that was flagged for Cork when everyone saw it was well wide — that shouldn’t be happening in this day and age. That was a very poor decision and it put us under extra pressure, that point always loomed large as the game wound down.

“I thought Stephen Quirke’s point at the end was crucial, from out wide, another exceptional 15-year-old. We move on now to a Munster final, still developing, not yet at the level of the team that won the All-Ireland, but at least we’re getting another few months of football which is important.”

As for Cork, well, the players themselves were devastated, knew they had under-performed, leaving manager Ephie Fitzgerald at a loss to explain what had gone wrong.

“The first half we didn’t turn up at all. We took a risk in playing Peter Kelleher, not a lot of match practice, and we were under pressure in the middle of the field, gave them a good platform to attack us.

“I thought the lads battled back as best they could but Tipp are a big, strong, well-organised side. We left ourselves too much to do in the end but all credit to Tipp too for that, they never left us get into a rhythm. I wasn’t too happy with the ref, second half I felt there were a lot of dubious calls against us. That’s not to take from them, they were the better team on the night, but definitely we were on the wrong end of a few poor decisions.”

Scorers for Tipperary: A Tynan 0-7 (5f); P Maher 0-2; L Casey, S Quirke, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: M Cahalane 0-4 (2f); A Moynihan 0-2; S White, J Bushe, 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: J Brady; D Owens, J Feehan, W Connors; K Fahey, R Mulcahy, L Boland; L Casey, C O’Riordan (c); P Shanahan, J Keane, C Lowry; A Tynan, T Kirwan, P Maher.

Subs: S Quirke (Shanahan 47); M Connolly (Boland 56); M Russell (Casey 58).

CORK: A Casey; M McSweeney, K Flahive, D Quinn; S White, S Cronin (c), K O’Neill; K O’Connor, P Kelleher; J Bushe, R Harkin, K Cremin; R O’Sullivan, M Cahalane, M Hurley.

Subs: A Moynihan (Cronin 30); P O’Neill (Kelleher 30); R Cahalane (O’Sullivan 37); D O’Driscoll (Harkin 41); C O’Driscoll (O’Neill 52).

Referee: S Joy (Kerry).



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