Healy praises players' reaction as Cork get over the line against Tipperary
Cork 1-10 Tipperary 1-9
Cork manager Peadar Healy paid tribute to the resilience of his side as they dug in to claim victory over Tipperary in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening.
Despite scoring just one first-half point, the Rebels persevered as Luke Connolly's 70th-minute goal clinched victory, immediately after Conor Sweeney looked to have turned things Tipp's way.
Having been 0-4 to 0-1 behind at half-time, Cork fell further behind as Sweeney pointed twice for Tipp at the start of the second-half, but six unanswered points put them in front. For Healy, the response showed the team's character.
"The players took control of the dressing-room," he said.
"They knew the performance wasn't good enough. They are very critical of themselves and very hard on themselves.
"I thought the response when Tipp scored the goal was fantastic and then to ride it out."
Healy's side will go in to the Munster final with Kerry in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh on July 2 as massive underdogs and, on the basis of their 70-minute showing as a whole, that is a fair assessment.
The opening period brought nine wides for them and just one point, from Connolly as he opened the scoring in the second minute. Colm O'Neill and Paul Kerrigan had goal chances - saved by Ciarán Kenrick and wide, respectively - but overall the picture was bleak.
The problem for Tipperary was that they couldn't sufficiently punish Cork, shooting seven wides and suffering the loss through injury of talismanic forward Michael Quinlivan.
In his absence Sweeney stepped up, while centre-back Robbie Kiely was excellent in the first-half and the driving force of many of their attacks.
Their five-point lead after 37 minutes was reduced back to three as Kerrigan and Donncha O'Connor scored for Cork, but on 40 minutes Liam Boland had a great chance to stretch Tipp's advantage.
Having won a break from a kick-out, he was allowed to carry the ball, but instead of passing to Sweeney he opted to shoot and Ken O'Halloran saved. Let off the hook, Cork took over at midfield, with sub Mark Collins having a big effect, and they were 0-7 to 0-6 in front on 52 minutes.
Sweeney equalised and did so again after O'Connor pointed for Cork, but Kerrigan and then O'Connor put Cork 0-10 to 0-8 in front with six minutes of normal time left.
After sub Kevin O'Halloran reduced the margin, Sweeney netted as he got his hands to Colm O'Shaughnessy's delivery, but Cork kept their heads.
Sub Michael Hurley, James Loughrey and Mark Collins weaved through the Tipp cover and the latter offloaded to Connolly, who palmed home.
Tipp manager Liam Kearns lamented the loss of Quinlivan, among their other injuries.
"It's a huge blow because he was only just starting to get into the game," he said.
"In the second-half when we would have been hitting him on kick-outs, they wouldn't have been pushing up on our sweeper if Mikey was still on the field.
"It was a huge swing in the game really. At the end of the day you have to cope with the injuries and fair play to Cork, they came at us and pushed up on our sweeper, went after the game and got their reward. They got out of there and that's credit to them."
For Healy and Cork, it's on to a clash with the old enemy - and the one improvement he'd like above all?
"To play for a full 70 minutes."
Cork: L Connolly 1-2, P Kerrigan, D O'Connor (2f) 0-3 each, Barry O'Driscoll, M Collins 0-1 each.
Tipperary: C Sweeney 1-5 (1f), R Kiely, L Boland, L McGrath, K O'Halloran 0-1 each.
CORK: K O'Halloran 8; M Shields 7, J O'Sullivan 6, K Crowley 8; C O'Driscoll 6, J Loughrey 7, T Clancy 6; R Deane 5, I Maguire 6; Brian O'Driscoll 5, P Kerrigan 8, J O'Rourke 6; C O'Neill 5, P Kelleher 6, L Connolly 7. Subs: D O'Connor 8 for Kelleher (30), Barry O'Driscoll 7 for Brian O'Driscoll (35), S Powter 6 for C O'Driscoll (half-time), M Collins 8 for Barry O'Driscoll (44-50, blood), Collins for Deane (51), M Hurley 7 for O'Rourke (59), G Murphy 6 for O'Neill (66).
TIPPERARY: C Kenrick 7; S O'Connell 6, P Codd 7, A Campbell 6; B Maher 7, R Kiely 8, J Feehan 6; L Casey 6, G Hannigan 6; J Keane 6, D Foley 6, B Fox 6; C Sweeney 8, M Quinlivan 6, L Boland 7. Subs: L McGrath 6 for Quinlivan (19, injured), K O'Halloran 7 for Foley (47), A Moloney 6 for Casey (52, injured), K Bergin 6 for Hannigan (57, injured), C O'Shaughnessy 6 for O'Connell (57), J Lonergan 6 for Boland (66).
REF - C Branagan (Down).