Cork 4-21 Tipperary 2-28
Tipperary’s pre-match preparations may have been affected by their late arrival due to traffic congestion around Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday, but it certainly didn’t affect them in a sensational closing quarter.
Cork seemed to be heading for top slot in Division One A when leading by four goals, 4-19 to 0-19, following a stunning half-volley goal from Patrick Horgan in the 53rd minute.
And with both sides’ passage to the quarter-finals already secured before the start, the crowd of 7,895 could have been excused for believing this one was done and dusted. Cork and Tipp don’t do dead-rubbers, however.
Certainly, Tipperary reckoned there was still plenty to time to extricate themselves from the big hole they had dug for themselves, but even their most ardent supporter couldn't have expected a fight-back of this magnitude.
Within 30 seconds of Horgan’s goal Tipp declared their intentions with a Kieran Bergin goal and they simply seized control from there on restricting Cork to just two more points in a dramatic finale.
Tipp scored the last seven points and 10 of the closing 11 to underline the extent of their grip on a contest that will have the big crowd giddy with excitement at the prospect of future meetings between the great rivals.
Tipp prospects soared with a second goal from substitute Jason Forde from a Séamus Callanan pass after 57 minutes, 4-20 to 2-21. Seamus Harnedy pointed for Cork moments later, but it proved their last as Callanan's free-taking edged them closer.
They got back on level terms two minutes from the finish with a point from substitute Conor Kenny before Noel McGrath inched them ahead for only the first time since Ronan Maher's opener an age ago at this stage.
Cork had 75 seconds to rescue the tie and between them Horgan and substitute Andy Walsh blew a great opportunity to restore parity.
Nobody was prepared for the goal-avalanche as Cork led by 0-16 to 0-15 after 40 minutes. Aidan Walsh and Harnedy set-up Conor Lehane for the first two minutes later before Horgan slammed in number two within 30 seconds.
Those goals separated the teams, when Cork again pounced in quick succession, substitute Paudie O’Sullivan reacting quickest to Harnedy’s rebound and Horgan’s brilliant second and Cork’s fourth.
Cork led by 0-15 to 0-13 at the end of a free-scoring opening 35 minutes during which Tipp created the better goal-scoring opportunities, but couldn’t find the appropriate finish.
Home captain Anthony Nash denied Brendan Maher with a brilliant save in the 24th minute, managing to get his hurley down low to keep the stinging shot from beating him.
The goalkeeper enjoyed a slice of luck in the closing act of the period after Callanan found himself clear on goal only to tip his shot over the advancing Nash and crossbar, too.
Tipp manager Eamon O'Shea clearly wasn't impressed with his side's performance because he made three changes for the second-half, one enforced due to Brendan Maher's injury. Another alteration which saw the introduction of James Woodlock coincided with Tipp getting a firm grip and producing an extraordinary comeback.
CORK: A Nash; S O'Neill, D Cahalane, S McDonnell; L McLoughlin, M Ellis, C Murphy (0-2); D Kearney (0-2), A Walsh (0-1); C Lehane (1-1), S Harnedy (0-5), R O'Shea (0-1); A Cadogan (0-1), L O'Farrell, P Horgan (2-8, six frees). Subs: P O'Sullivan (1-0) for Cadogan (half-time), C O'Sullivan for Ellis (50 mins), B Cooper for O'Farrell (53 mins), Andy Walsh for O'Shea (60 mins), S Moylan for Kearney (65 mins). TIPPERARY: D Egan; P Stapleton, C O'Mahony, C O'Brien; K Bergin (1-0), P Maher, R Maher (0-1); S McGrath, T Stapleton (0-1); N McGrath (0-7, one free), B Maher, J Forde (1-4); J O'Dwyer (0-1 free), S Callinan (0-10, five frees), N O'Meara (0-3). Subs: P Maher for B Maher (32 mins), S Bourke for O'Dwyer, M Breen for S McGrath (half-time), J Woodlock for T Stapleton (55 mins), C Kenny (0-1) for O'Meara (61 mins). Referee: B Kelly (Westmeath)