Ryan hints Corbett may return for championship
Tipperary 0-26 Cork 1-19 (After extra-time) Waterford Crystal Cup (SH) S/F
ON A day that underlined just how much they will miss him, Tipperary manager Declan Ryan hinted strongly that he has high hopes that retired superstar Lar Corbett will yet make a quick comeback.
Tipp botched five clear goal chances and had a penalty claim ignored in this useful early-season victory over the old enemy yesterday, their first game since the great goal-poacher's shock withdrawal from the county panel last week.
Despite looking sharper on the ball for long periods, they needed extra-time to pull it out of the bag in Templemore and you couldn't escape the feeling that things would have been wrapped up a lot earlier if 'Lightning Lar' had been around to wreak his trademark goalmouth havoc.
Ryan certainly lobbed the sliotar firmly back into Corbett's court afterwards, saying: "Unfortunately Larry has opted out of the panel for the time being due to work commitments but we're hoping we may see him in the blue and gold again and that'll be his decision.
"Lar's a mercurial character and he doesn't take that long to get fit. We'd be happy to see him any time between now and the end of May."
Just how Tipp will cope in this new post-Lar era was all the buzz beforehand, even among the visiting Cork fans in the decent 1,350 crowd.
"Are you all upset?" joked one Rebel to a female Tipp supporter. "Ah don't worry girl, he'll be back. Sure there has to be life after Lar!"
Corbett's predatory instincts were certainly missed. Pa Bourke, a pre-match replacement for Timmy Hammersley, had two great early chances, the second after he split the defence with a great run on 11 minutes but then fumbled the finish.
Five minutes later, Shane McGrath blazed another gaping chance wide and just before half-time John O'Brien and Brian O'Meara combined to set Bourke up again but Cork 'keeper Martin Coleman, excellent throughout, got there ahead of him.
Four minutes after the re-start, when Tipp led by just a point (0-7 to 0-6), Bourke had another chance but tried to bounce it in, the wrong choice in sticky conditions. And when Brian O'Meara then had what looked like a legitimate penalty claim ignored, you just knew the goal-gods weren't with Tipp.
But they also contributed to their own problems, shooting nine of their eventual 15 wides by half-time, and needed Eoin Kelly, James Woodlock and Sean Curran to come off the bench to steady them.
New Cork boss Jimmy Barry Murphy rested his third-level players in a very experimental line-up but Sean Og O hAilpin started, and looked very sharp, in his first game since the 2010 All-Ireland semi-final.
In the second half, the sides traded two-point leads several times and Tipp lost two key men -- midfielder Shane McGrath (ankle) and the hard-working Patrick 'Bonner' Maher (knee) -- and eventually needed an injury-time equaliser from Brian O'Meara to take the game to extra-time (0-18 apiece).
Cork then lost Cronin to concussion but were still hanging on (0-19 to 0-20) at the third break.
But when Paul Curran and Shane Maher combined to make a vital goalmouth intervention in the fourth period, it gave Tipp a huge lift and they kicked on with four unanswered points and a great insurance score from Johnny Ryan after Cork's Michael O'Sullivan got a late consolation goal.
Man of the Match -- Brian O'Meara (Tipp)
Scorers -- Tipperary: B O'Meara 0-5, E Kelly 0-4 (3f, 1 '65), A Ryan, J O'Brien, P Bourke (2f) 0-3 each, G Ryan, S Curran, J Woodlock 0-2 each, C O'Mahony,J Ryan 0-1 each. Cork: M O'Sullivan 1-0, P Cronin, B Corry, C Naughton, J Coughlan (1f), R Cashman (2f, 1 '65) 0-3 each, L O'Farrell 0-2, N McCarthy, R Clifford 0-1 each.
Tipperary -- B Cummins; C O'Brien, P Curran, M Cahill; S Maher, C O'Mahony, Padraic Maher; J Ryan, S McGrath; G Ryan, Patrick Maher, A Ryan; P Bourke, B O'Meara, J O'Brien. Subs: E Kelly for Bourke (51), D Young for J Ryan (51), S Curran for O'Brien (66), J Woodlock for S McGrath (inj, 64), Bourke for Patrick Maher (inj, 69), J Ryan for A Ryan (83).
Cork -- M Coleman; B Murphy, E Dillon, C O'Sullivan; S Og O hAilpin, R Cashman, J Gardiner; D Sweetman, P Cronin; B Corry, N McCarthy, C Naughton; J Coughlan, E Murphy, R Clifford. Subs: M O'Sullivan for McCarthy (42), C Joyce for O hAilpin (48), L O'Farrell for Clifford (48), B O'Connor for E Murphy (55), S O'Neill for B Murphy (57), N McCarthy for Corry (80), R Clifford for Sweetman (80), E Murphy for Cronin (inj 87).
Ref -- S Hourigan (Limerick)