Cork find their groove as Tipperary suffer serious setback
Convincing victory in Thurles a significant milestone for Ronan McCarthy’s side
Tipperary’s Robbie Kiely is tackled by Cork’s Mark Collins at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho
Cork 1-17 Tipperary 0-9
Tipperary manager Liam Kearns believes that Saturday’s Munster semi-final defeat to Cork is the biggest setback of his tenure so far.
Tipperary were completely overrun after Michael Quinlivan and Liam Casey missed two good goal opportunities early on, while Colm O’Neill scored the Cork goal at Semple Stadium in Thurles.
The returning Luke Connolly hit 10 points for Cork but Tipperary capitulated before half-time and again in the final quarter.
Kearns had bemoaned his side’s heavy fixture schedule, this match took place seven days after their 0-20 to 0-9 quarter-final win over Waterford, but with just five different scorers and a lacklustre display from the 2016 All-Ireland semi-finalists, the Tipperary manager was shocked.
“Our fellas have a lot of belief in themselves. They proved that over the last three years. I don’t know did we lose belief,” said Kearns. “We were beaten and I don’t have the answers for this performance. Why were we so poor, I don’t know.
“It’s a serious setback, probably our worst setback in the three years we have been together. Our progress was pretty sustained up to this point and this is a setback certainly.
“We played six days ago but I can’t put the performance down to that. We expected to perform a lot better.”
Tipperary will enter the qualifiers at the hands of Cork for the second year in succession, but their opponents will take massive confidence from this victory.
It was Ronan McCarthy’s first championship win in charge, but the overall team display means Cork go into a Munster final on June 23rd believing a first provincial title since 2012 is achievable.
There were two championship debutants who made the starting 15 with Mark White and Kevin Flahive both in top form. But goalkeeper White was particularly impressive and he saved brilliantly from Quinlivan and Casey in the opening quarter.
That kept Cork in the game while up the other end Connolly scored six points in the first half and he set up O’Neill’s goal in the 31st minute. Cork scored an unanswered 1-4 between the 24thand 33rdminutes and that paved the way for a comfortable 1-8 to 0-4 lead at half-time.
Tipperary’s mini-revival wasn’t enough after half-time and, with Brian Hurley and Paul Kerrigan coming on as substitutes, Cork finished the game stronger too.
“The pressure was on the team to deliver, they did,” said McCarthy. “What you’ll find with teams, not just Cork, fear of losing, you become so obsessed with losing, you forget why you are there in the first place. It was nice to see them play with a bit of freedom tonight.
“Brian Hurley was great. We had tremendous options off the bench. That made a difference too.
“It is important to pay tribute to players such as Brian Hurley, Donncha O’Connor, Seán Powter, Paul Kerrigan and Brian O’Driscoll. They have made an incredible effort to get back.
“For a couple of them. It obviously came too soon. Seán should be training next week.”
CORK: M White; K Crowley, J O’Sullivan, K Flahive; S White (0-1), S Cronin, T Clancy; A Walsh, I Maguire; K O’Driscoll, M Collins (0-3), R Deane; J O’Rourke, C O’Neill (1-0), L Connolly (0-10, 0-5 frees). Subs: B Hurley (0-1) for O’Neill (47 mins), R O’Toole for O’Driscoll (56 mins), P Kelleher for Walsh (58 mins), P Kerrigan (0-2) for O’Rourke (58 mins), J Loughrey for S White (63 mins), M Taylor for Clancy (68 mins).
TIPPERARY: E Comerford; S O’Connell, J Meagher, A Campbell; B Maher, R Kiely, J Feehan; L Casey, J Kennedy (0-1, free); J Keane, S O’Brien, B Fox; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan (0-1), L McGrath (0-5, 0-4 frees). Subs: P Austin (0-1) for Feehan (35 mins), K Fahey for Kiely (46 mins), L Boland (0-1) for Casey (49 mins), J Lonergan for Keane (67 mins), K O’Halloran for Sweeney (67 mins).
Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).