Tipperary cruise to victory as Cork challenge fails to keep pace after half-time
Victors inspired to 15-point win by captain and man-of-the-match Niall O’Meara
Tipperary’s Brian Stapleton and Tomás Hamill tussle with Cork’s Rob O’Shea and Jamie Coughlan at Semple Stadium, Thurles, last night. Photograph: Inpho
Tipperary 5-19 Cork 2-13: Ken Hogan’s Tipperary cruised into the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 hurling championship final with a comprehensive 15-point victory over Cork in Thurles on Wednesday night.
Tipp will contest a second successive provincial decider on August 7th, when they meet Clare or Waterford, who are due to contest Thursday evening’s second semi-final.
Tipp, powered forward by captain and man of the match Niall O’Meara, opened up with a devastating scoring blitz in the second half, after Cork had whittled down a ten-point deficit to the bare minimum. The Rebels trailed by 0-5 to 2-9 before a run of six points without reply in the final five minutes of the first half brought them to within four points, 0-11 to 2-9, at the break.
And the visitors were breathing down Tipp’s necks when sub Mark Sugrue netted two minutes after half-time.
But Tipp’s response was emphatic as the Premier County registered an unanswered 2-8 to regain complete control.
Full-forward Bill Walsh notched his second goal in the 40th minute before leading scorer Jason Forde found the net from a penalty five minutes later. Forde and Justin Cahill added points to put Tipp 14 points clear - 4-16 to 1-11 - before senior star and Cork captain Christopher Joyce stopped the rot. But Tipp responded strongly again as Tommy Heffernan scored a fifth goal for the rampant hosts, to ensure that all six starting forwards were now on the scoresheet.
Cian Buckley scored a consolation goal for Cork in the 58th minute but this was disappointing from the Leesiders, who had worked so hard to give themselves real hope early in the second half.
Tipp had opened the game with real intent, in front of 2911 spectators at Semple Stadium, with Walsh netting in the third minute, after taking Tomás Hamill’s pass. And Hogan’s charges, beaten Munster finalists last year, were in cruise control by the 22nd minute when Forde, who scored 1-8 in the previous round against Limerick, slammed home the first of his two goals.
The senior panellist had options either side of him as he burst through on goal but he elected to go it alone and it proved a smart choice as the Silvermines star dropped the sliotar and whipped on it to find the back of the net.
Cork fought their way back into contention but after Sugrue’s goal, they were outscored by 1-2 to 3-10 for the remainder of the game.
It was a heavy defeat for Ger Fitzgerald’s side but a win for Tipp as the county looks to rebuild confidence following early exits for the senior and minor sides.
CORK: P Collins, C Spillane, P O’Mahony, D Lester; D O’Mahony, C Joyce (0-1), D Cahalane; R O’Shea (0-3), B Murray (0-2); D Lordan, J Coughlan (0-4, 3f, 1 65), C Lehane (0-1); A Cadogan, J Wall (0-1), B Hartnett.
Subs: M Sugrue (1-1) for Lordan (27), N Kelly for Cadogan (38), S Murphy for P O’Mahony (44), K Kavanagh for Murray (50), C Buckley (1-0) for Hartnett (53).
TIPPERARY: D Mooney; C Barrett, A Ryan, M Breen; S Kennedy, T Hamill, J O’Dwyer; J Cahill (0-1), B Stapleton (0-1); J Forde (2-8, 1-0 pen, 0-6f), N O’Meara (0-4), T Heffernan (1-0); L McGrath (0-2), B Walsh (2-1), A McCormack (0-1). Subs: J McGrath (0-1) for McCormack (35), C O’Riordan for L McGrath (50), C Kenny for Walsh (55).
Referee: S Hourigan (Limerick).