Centre cannot hold as Tipp crush Rebels
Supremacy over an out-of-touch Cork runs throughout entire All-Ireland SHC semi-final contest
Tipperary’s Lar Corbett (left) reaches for the ball as Lorcán McLoughlin of Cork tries to challenge. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
The domination ran through the entire match even if there was a little worry at half-time that they weren’t as far in front as they should have been. But they came out in the second half and the pattern continued.
Cork’s first effort after half-time was wide and their touch, non-existent from the start, continued to be hopeless.
The ball fell out of their hands; when they tried to hand pass they missed; and just couldn’t get the ball under control. Everything was hard work for them and with a long succession of wides in the first half they seemed to lose their way very early on and Tipperary just grew in confidence.
Their touch was excellent and they used the ball way better. When they really started to move with Séamie Callanan’s second goal – which was coming because the Cork defence was only barely keeping their finger in the dam – which was a beautiful score, that was the end of it.
More damagingly, Cork seemed to lose total heart after that.
Tipperary thrived throughout the team. The puck-outs of Darren Gleeson in goal were, from the start, outstanding and set a tone. He was finding his players, their touch was good, and they were moving the ball on.
Cork, on the other hand, were conceding way too much space to the Tipp half-back line for those puck-outs.
Before the match my view was with midfield vital in nearly all matches in this championship, Cork’s pairing had the form. They’d got the better of Limerick in the Munster final and Limerick had had the better of Tipp so the form line.
performed As it turned out it was Tipperary’s midfield that totally out
performed their opponents. Shane McGrath and James Woodlock were excellent, both of them popping up to score three points, and nowadays when you win the middle of the field you win the match.
Aidan Walsh was replaced and while Daniel Kearney was busy, his touch in common with his team-mates was poor and any time he shot he was invariably under pressure from Tipperary players and had virtually no impact.
Tipp’s half backs were absolutely superb, particularly Paudie Maher and Brendan Maher, and Cork’s half forwards, very impressive in Munster, came adrift. Séamus Harnedy was taken off; Conor Lehane hit a couple of nice points but was always marginal; and Bill Cooper struggled with his game throughout, culminating in his completely mis- hitting a pass that should have set up a goal for Harnedy but got intercepted.