Cyril Farrell: O hailpins ram critics' words down throats
Published 31/05/2010 | 05:00
REPUTATIONS were restored and critics were silenced as Cork reminded us all of their credentials in spectacular fashion.
Question-marks hung over this side going into yesterday's match. Some were deemed too old, others considered simply not good enough, but the doubters were proved wrong.
Manager Denis Walsh should be applauded for some brave decisions, not least his decision to stick with Aisake O hAilpin after an indifferent League final. The full-forward showed his ability to win primary possession, but he also displayed an awareness of those around him that had deserted him against Galway.
Some would have preferred that Aisake's brother Sean Og didn't start. And if he did, he was unlikely to last the 70 minutes, they argued. But along with his old mates John Gardiner and Ronan Curran, he hurled the heart out of Tipperary, who were pretty much second-best in every position on the field.
Eoin Cadogan was excellent too, and put the end to the debate (if there was any) as to who should start at full-back.
And while the back six as a unit were superb, Donal Og Cusack's influence can't be understated. His puck-outs caused Tipp all sorts of trouble, varying between longer deliveries and short chips. At times, he was more a conductor than a goalkeeper, though he did pull off an excellent save.
It will have been a long trip home for Liam Sheedy and his team; they'll be hurting after being out-thought and out-fought.
But they are not done yet and will still have a massive say in the destination of the title, but they will have realised they are a lot further away then they would have liked.
Cork will try to play it down, but their tie with Limerick in the semi-final is a non-event, meaning they are all but in the provincial final against either Waterford or Clare. Those two will have been watching with interest and it's doubtful either will allow Cork the time and space they were afforded yesterday. Nonetheless, Cork are back in the big-time.
Galway did enough to get through against Wexford and will be happy to have won a Championship match in Nowlan Park. It's probably not a bad thing that they failed to hit the heights they reached during the League final, so there is plenty to work on after coming up against some stubborn Wexford resistance in Keith Rossiter and Darren Stamp.
That Galway made a few changes in the forwards suggests they are still finding their feet.
Antrim came up just short after a brave performance against Offaly, finding themselves in the lead with time all but up. Offaly were the better team in extra-time and they'll know they got out of jail. Expect to see a much-improved performance next time out.