Tipperary 3-15 Cork 2-16
The burning heartache of Páirc Uí Chaoimh in 2014 propelled Tipperary to a sensational Munster SFC semi-final victory over Cork at Semple Stadium on Sunday.
Two years ago, Tipp were pipped at the post by the Rebels on Leeside but despite coughing up a nine-point lead in the final eight minutes of normal time, they regrouped and two Kevin O’Halloran placed balls in stoppage time sealed the county’s first senior football championship victory over Cork since 1944.
Manager Liam Kearns, who masterminded a 10-point victory over Cork as Limerick boss 13 years ago, admitted: "Ah yeah, it was mentioned (at half-time).
“It was said that with five minutes to go, they were two points up and lost the game. That was not to happen this time but unfortunately we went very close to doing it again!
“Thanks be to God, we didn’t. I’m just thrilled for players that they managed to break the ceiling today. 1944 is a ridiculous amount of time not to beating a county so it’s great to have done it. As I said to the players, nobody can take that away from them now.”
It was a remarkable, breath-taking game at Semple Stadium, with just 2,734 spectators present to watch it.
Tipp led by 2-7 to 0-6 at the break, were 3-13 to 1-10 clear in the 62nd minute but still ended up needing those late O’Halloran interventions to get the job done.
For Cork, it’s a devastating setback coming on the back of relegation from Division 1 of the Allianz League.
Tipp, incredibly, will contest a first Munster SFC final since 2002 when they face Kerry on July 3rd as Cork head for the qualifiers.
In some respects, Cork were the architects of their own downfall. They finished with arguably a stronger team that started, registered nine first half wides (Tipp had none) and coughed up two goals from poor kick-outs.
But Tipp missed an early penalty, as Peter Acheson was denied by Cork goalkeeper Ryan Price, before goals from Conor Sweeney and Michael Quinlivan helped to establish a seven-point interval lead, built up against the breeze from the start.
Tipp roared nine clear early in the second half - 2-10 to 0-7 - before the first of two Mark Collins goals hauled Cork back into contention.
The Rebels were within four before Tipp moved nine ahead again, the outstanding Brian Fox scoring 1-1 in a minute, but there was still time for Cork to launch a fightback.
Collins goaled again in the 66th minute and four further points brought Cork level.
They looked odds-on for the win, fuelled by momentum and fresh belief, but O’Halloran nailed a brilliant ‘45 before adding an insurance free.
Kearns, the former Limerick and Laois boss who also coached Roscommon last year, couldn’t hide his satisfaction.
Injuries and defections decimated his squad but for the first time all year, he had a fully-fit panel to work with.
He added: “I’d say, in the circumstances, we took so many blows during the course of this year that this achievement would rank up there with any achievement in managerial terms.”
Gracious Cork boss Peadar Healy conceded: “Give great credit to Tipperary, we certainly didn’t underestimate them coming up here.
“We conceded too much - we were trying to rectify that all year. If you were told you’d score 2-16 today you’d hope to win (but) too many turnovers in the first half, nine wides and it took too much out of us to get back after drawing level.”
TIPPERARY: E Comerford; C McDonald (0-1), C O'Shaughnessy, A Campbell; B Maher (0-1), R Kiely, J Feehan; P Acheson (0-2), G Hannigan; P Austin, K O'Halloran (0-7, 3f, 2 45s), B Fox (1-1); J Keane, M Quinlivan (1-3, 0-1f), C Sweeney (1-0).
Subs: S Leahy for Keane (b/c 35), M Dunne for Kiely (55), I Fahey for Austin (60), A Moloney for Sweeney (68), S O’Connell for Maher (70), B Hewitt for Fahey (b/c 70+3).
CORK: R Price; J Loughrey, E Cadogan, C O'Driscoll; K O'Driscoll, B O'Driscoll, T Clancy; S Kiely, I Maguire; J O'Rourke (0-1), C Dorman (0-2), M Collins (2-1); C O'Neill (0-2f), B Hurley (0-1), P Kerrigan (0-3, 1f).
Subs: P Kelleher (0-1) for Hurley (h.t.), R Deane for Kiely (h.t.), S White for Deane (b/c 43), S Powter for Dorman (48), D O’Connor (0-3f) for O’Neill (54), D Goulding (0-2, 1f) for O’Rourke (62).
Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon)