Thursday 14 December 2017

Cork edge past Tipperary despite being awful for vast swathes of their Munster semi-final

Cork 1-10 Tipperary 1-9

Cork manager Peadar Healy with his players after the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Pairc Ui Rinn in Cork. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Cork manager Peadar Healy with his players after the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Pairc Ui Rinn in Cork. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

John Brennan

Cork won, but that scoreline covers a multitude of their football ills against Tipperary at Pairc Ui Rinn today.

They say a one-point win is as good as a 10-point one, but that’s the margin Cork might have lost by, and they could well have done it had Tipp converted a brilliant goal chance 10 minutes into the second half.

Had Robbie Kiely scored, or passed to the excellent Conor Sweeney as he could have done, the scoreline would have been 1-6 to 0-1 and a grand opening day for the new-look Pairc Ui Chaoimh between Cork and Kerry would have been a long way away.

In truth, for long spells of this poor-quality match Cork were awful, scoring just one point in the first half when they had the wind at their back.

But Cork’s bench was much better than Tipperary’s and that was a key factor. The introductions of Donnacha O’Connor and Mark Collins were a huge boost to Cork as they struggled for traction.

They drove thier team forward and found a great ally in skipper Paul Kerrigan, who demanded so much from his team-mates in their second-half rally.

Tipp will regret some missed chances for scores. But perhaps the biggest regret of all was the injury to Tipp’s best player Michael Quinlivan halfway through the first half.

He would have been such a presence in the second half and manager Liam Kearns could have pulled the strapping Quinlivan out to a midfield area that was blown off the pitch after the restart.

Cork just about got away with this, but if the result goes to Kerry’s plan in Ennis this afternoon, the Kingdom backroom team will not be panicking when they review this video.

After that awful opening, the game finished in a welter of excitement with Conor Sweeney getting a great goal to put Tipperary ahead as five minutes of injury time loomed.

But, straight from the kick-out, Cork came down the pitch and transferred the ball at pace for Luke Connolly to palm home the winning goal. Four more minutes of play brought no score as Cork played out time, not always comfortably.

What that viedo wil tell Kerry is just put Cork’s players under pressure and they will make mistakes. And Kerry would keep it going for 70 minutes in a manner that a short-handed Tipp couldn’t with so many top [players off the pitch for various reasons by the end of the game. An underdog cannot afford absentees and Tipp had too many by the end last night.

If Kerry oblige, Pairc Ui Chaoimh will get its big opening day showpiece of Cork and Kerry this day three weeks. But on this evidence, it would not be much of a match!

Scorers - Cork: L Connolly 1-3, D O’Connor 0-3, P Kerrigan 0-2, Barry O’Driscoll, M Collins 0-1 each; Tipperary: C Sweeney 1-5, L Boland, K O’Halloran, L McGrath 0-1 each.

Cork: K O’Halloran; J Loughrey, J O’Sullivan, Brian O’Driscoll; T Clancy, M Shields, K Crowley; I Maguire, R Deane; C O’Driscoll, L Connolly, J O’Rourke; C O’Neill, P Kelleher, P Kerrigan. Subs: D O’Connor for Kelleher 31mins, Barry O’Driscoll for Brian O’Driscoll 34mins, S Powter for C. O’Driscoll ht M Collins for Deane 51mins

Tipperary: C Kenrick; S O’Connell, P Codd, A Campbell; B Maher, R Kiely, J Feehan; L Casey, G Hannigan; J Keane, L. Boland, B Fox; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan, D Foley. Subs: L McGrath for Quinlivan 18mins, K O’Halloran for Foley 47mins, A Moloney for Casey 53mins, K Bergin for Hannigan, C O’Shaughnessy for O’Connell both 57mins

Referee C Branagan (Down)

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