IT wasn’t quite revenge for their shock Munster semi-final defeat last June but Cork’s performance will have pleased Peadar Healy immensely as they laid some demons to rest with a demolition of Tipperary in Templetuohy tonight.
A goal in either half from Niall Coakley, a native of Carrigaline but playing his club football with Dublin side St Judes, and six points from first-half substitute Kevin Davis sent the Rebels on their way in what was a polished display from start to finish.
Coakley, who kicked three points for the Dub Stars against Dublin in their New Year’s Day clash, was clinical in attack while Davis took full advantage of an unlikely opportunity when Cian Dorgan’s Cork senior debut was spoiled by injury in the 13th minute.
Hitting 2-21 from play is not to be sniffed at on any day and Healy will be delighted to have watched other inexperienced faces like Sean Powter, Conor Dorman, and Brian O’Driscoll (not of rugby fame) stake their claim for game time with an important campaign in Division 2 fast approaching.
There were only five starters from the team beaten by Donegal in last July’s fourth-round qualifier but Michael Shields made a welcome return after after being dropped pre-championship last year.
Liam Kearns’ Tipp side were very much understrength, however, with just four of last year’s starting 15 that fell in the All-Ireland semi-final to Mayo present, and minus the services of star man Michael Quinlivan and six experienced full-back players.
Liam Boland and Coakley traded scores in the opening minutes before the lively Sean Powter and 2011 All-Ireland-winning Premier minor captain Liam McGrath swapped scores at either end. Ian Maguire and Coakley sent Cork ahead but McGrath, who impressed in front of the posts, then pointed what would be Tipp’s last score for 14 minutes as Cork streaked ahead.
Davis, Coakley and Ruairí Deane fired over three in a row before Coakley reacted quickest to Matthew Taylor’s fisted effort rebounding off the post and clinically buried past Ciarán Kenrick, 1-7 to 0-3.
A brace from Davis and Brian O’Driscoll sent them ten ahead before Diarmuid Foley broke Tipp’s barren spell with a point. First-half substitute Don O’Driscoll and Davis responded immediately for the Rebels but Tipp gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Alan Moloney blasted past Ryan Price just before the break, 1-12 to 1-4.
It was tit for tat in the early second-half exchanges but when Boland sent over two points in quick succession it narrowed the gap to six, 1-15 to 1-9, and there was a real contest on our hands with a quarter of an hour to play.
Healy’s side kicked into overdrive, however, and Coakley’s second goal on the hour mark and points from Powter, Davis, the O’Driscolls and Dorman put the seal on a comfortable victory ahead of their table-topping tie with Kerry on Sunday.
SCORERS – Cork: N Coakley 2-3 (1f), K Davis 0-6, D O’Driscoll and B O’Driscoll 0-3 each, R Deane and S Powter 0-2 each, I Maguire, C Dorman and P de Róiste 0-1 each. Tipperary: L Boland 0-4, A Moloney 1-0, L McGrath 0-3, D Foley and L Casey 0-1 each.
CORK – R Price: M Shields, J Mullins, J McLoughlin; S Cronin, C Dorman, M Taylor; I Maguire, R Deane; S Powter, B O’Driscoll, K O’Driscoll; N Coakley, P Kelleher, C Dorgan.Subs: D O’Driscoll for K O’Driscoll (12 inj), K Davis for C Dorgan (13 inj), P de Róiste for Maguire and K Histon for Taylor (both ht)
TIPPERARY – C Kenrick; B Fox, J Hennessy, K Fahey;B Maher, R Kiely, B Fox; A Molone, J Kennedy; J Lonergan, L McGrath, J Keane; L Boland, C Stapleton, D Foley. Subs: A McGrath for Maher (ht), P Shanahan for Casey (42), C Sweeney for McGrath (46), M Dunne for Kiely (BC 50), I Fahey for Foley (56), C Hennessy for Stapleton (64)
REF – R Hickey (Clare)