Second-half goal blitz sees Tipperary overcome Cork in thriller
Tipperary 3-16 Cork 1-16
Tipperary carried the momentum of last year’s promotion from Division 3 as they won the first intercounty football game in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Three second-half goals, two from Liam McGrath and one by Michael Quinlivan, helped Liam Kearns’ side to victory, with an unanswered burst of 2-4 helping to put themselves into a lead they would not relinquish.
Tipp have become something of a thorn in Cork’s side in recent years – they won in the McGrath Cup in Páirc Uí Rinn in 2013 and in 2014 it took a late Cork surge to claim victory in the Munster championship. That was followed by a home win in Thurles in 2016 and they almost went back-to-back last year, again denied by Cork at the death.
This win shouldn’t be seen as too much of a shock, though. While Tipp were able to field a seasoned side, even without the injured pair of Philip Austin and Paddy Codd, Cork started with six league debutants. Though the Rebels overturned an early 0-4 to 0-1 deficit to lead by 0-9 to 0-8 at half-time, they had no answer when Tipp upped the ante in the second period.
After Steven O’Brien’s opener for Tipp was cancelled out by Seán White for Cork, Tipp made use of the wind behind them as Liam McGrath, Michael Quinlivan with a 45 and Jack Kennedy all pointed, while Josh Keane drew a good save from one of the Cork new boys, goalkeeper Mark White, brother of Seán.
Seán White got his and his county’s second point on ten minutes and, after Ruairí Deane fisted home a disallowed goal, Cork added another five points without reply to suggest that they had got to the pitch of game. Mark Collins, playing in a two-man inside forward line with Stephen Sherlock, had three while John O’Rourke also got on the scoresheet.
On the half-hour, Ruairí Deane made it 0-9 to 0-6 when another debutant, Daniel O’Callaghan, set him up, but Kennedy converted a free for distance for Tipp and then Liam Boland got on the scoresheet to make it 0-9 to 0-8.
In added time, Cork had a great chance to extend their advantage when O’Callaghan’s delivery broke nicely for Seán Powter, who would have had a goal chance but for Robbie Kiely’s illegal challenge.
Unfortunately for the hosts, Sherlock’s penalty was well saved by Tipp goalkeeper Evan Comerford, playing his first game for the county since incurring a 12-week ban during the 2017 campaign.
Sherlock showed that he wasn’t affected by the miss as he began the second half with two points, but Tipp were building momentum and, after Liam McGrath and Mark Collins exchanged points, they managed to open up a 2-13 to 0-12 lead.
McGrath and Quinlivan had the goals while Conor Sweeney almost netted too, his shot coming back off the crossbar. That was just before McGrath’s strike, set up by Quinlivan, made it 1-10 to 0-12 and further points from Sweeney and Brian Fox had them three in front.
Then Josh Keane forced a turnover to create the chance which Quinlivan beautifully finished with a curling shot past Mark White and another from Sweeney had them seven in front.
Cork ended their drought when sub Colm O’Neill was able to palm home from close range after Ruairí Deane’s handpass set him up, and O’Neill created a similar chance for Sherlock but he hit the post.
O’Neill and Sherlock had points as Cork came back to within two but McGrath gave Tipp breathing space again to bring his tally to 1-5 and then got his second and their third goal with two minutes left to out the outcome beyond doubt.
Scorers – Tipperary: L McGrath 2-5 (2f), M Quinlivan 1-2 (1 45), J Kennedy (2f), C Sweeney (1f) 0-3 each, L Boland, B Fox, S O’Brien 0-1 each.
Cork: S Sherlock (3f), Mark Collins (1f) 0-5 each, C O’Neill 1-1 (1f), S White 0-2, J O’Rourke, S Powter 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY: E Comerford; S O’Connell, J Feehan, E Moloney; B Maher, A Campbell, R Kiely; S O’Brien, J Kennedy; J Keane, C Sweeney, B Fox; Liam Boland, M Quinlivan, L McGrath.
Subs: L Casey for Boland (half-time), J Meagher for Feehan (43), K Fahey for Kiely (62), B Martin for McGrath, C O’Shaughnessy for O’Connell, George Hannigan for O’Brien (all 70).
CORK: M White; S Ryan, J O’Sullivan, M McSweeney; K Flahive, K Crowley, B O’Driscoll; I Maguire, D O’Callaghan; S White, S Powter, R Deane; J O’Rourke, M Collins, S Sherlock.
Subs: C O’Neill for Powter (47), K O’Hanlon for O’Callaghan (50), M Hurley for O’Rourke (53), T Clancy for O’Driscoll (58), K O’Driscoll for S White (65), C Dorman for Maguire (66, injured).
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).