Sunday 15 September 2019

WATCH: 'I felt John McGrath's goal was a piece of magic' - Sheedy hails superb Tipperary team score

Tipp top: John McGrath celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal past Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Tipp top: John McGrath celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal past Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Liam Sheedy moved quickly to wrap perspective around a win that left Tipperary supporters brimming with optimism as they left Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

"Two points in the bank - it's not any more. And two points won't get you anywhere in this championship," he said. Perhaps not, but the Munster landscape looks a whole more inviting for Tipperary than it did a year ago when they were overpowered by Limerick in the first game and never recovered.

Two wins from their previous 11 League and Championship games filled Tipperary with apprehension about what their latest visit to Leeside might hold in store. Another defeat would have seriously undermined their summer campaign, so it was absolutely vital that they banished the inefficiencies which undermined them last year.

They not only managed that, but actually delivered their best performance since the 2016 All-Ireland final. A 2-28 return, 2-24 from play, left no one in any doubt about the potency of their attack and indeed the half-backs and midfielders too, all of whom scored.

Tipperary also shot 11 wides, underlining just how many chances they created. With a little more accuracy, they could have finished on around 2-35, a score that's rarely registered.

John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer, Seamus Callanan and John McGrath scored 2-12 from play between them, with each looking as if there was more in them if the occasion demanded.

They - and the rest of the Tipperary attack - thoroughly enjoyed themselves, but they would also admit that their day was made surprisingly easy by the amount of room they were afforded.

Formations

Tactics and formations aside, it's still a basic requirement for defenders to win their individual battles, something Cork failed to do on numerous occasions.

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Just as happened in last year's All-Ireland semi-final against Limerick, they were too easily picked off.

And while Patrick Horgan - from play and frees - enjoyed a bountiful afternoon at the other end, it just wasn't enough.

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A 1-24 yield wins more games than it loses, but this was not one of those occasions. Still, Cork put themselves in a position to launch a late charge when Seamus Harnedy's 65th minute goal cut the deficit to four points, but they failed to build any further momentum.

Instead, it was Tipperary's who raised their game again, outscoring Cork 0-4 to 0-2 on the run-in.

It typified a game where they had most of the answers, except for the second quarter when a six-point lead was wiped out. Watching Cork fire over six unanswered points would have left Tipperary supporters in the crowd of 30,274 wondering if their side were about to be hollowed out again.

They needn't have worried. Cork led a point on a few occasions in the final 10 minutes of the half, but Tipperary responded impressively to a take a 1-13 to 0-15 lead into the break.

Having started slowly - they were hit for a Callanan goal in the third minute - Cork would have been happy with the half-time position on the basis that they had weathered the storm and were now in a position to reconfigure their strategies.

They had suffered a significant pre-match setback when Bill Cooper was forced out with a back problem, which weakened their hand in the middle third.

Cooper's forceful style was badly missed in an area where Tipperary were thriving. It continued like that after half-time when Tipp quickly seized control and opened up a five-point gap, which increased to eight in the 50th minute when a slick move which played John McGrath in for a classy goal.

"We got a great start to the second half and we got to three or four points and built on that. I felt John McGrath's goal was a piece of magic the way we worked the ball up and it was such a smashing ball across (to McGrath)," said Sheedy.

It set Cork a target they never looked like reaching on day when they relied heavily on Horgan's accuracy from frees and play. Tipperary's lack of discipline in the tackle was something management will, no doubt, address this week, for while it didn't prove fatal yesterday it could well be a match-loser in different circumstances.

Cork manager John Meyler has a lot more to worry him in the quick turnaround before the trip to Limerick next Sunday.

"Tipperary were more fluent, sharper, more mobile. Their support play was better than us. They looked extremely hungry too; " he said.

His thoughts were already turning to the clash with Limerick, knowing that unless Cork win, there's every chance that they won't make the top three who progress to the All-Ireland race.

"That's the beauty of this Munster championship. This match is over, so we reorganise and focus on next week. We're away to Limerick and we need to get a win - that's basically it," he said.

Scorers - Tipperary: J O'Dwyer 0-7, S Callanan 1-4, J Forde 0-5 (3f), J McGrath 1-1, N McGrath 0-4 (1 '65), B Maher 0-2, R Maher, Padraic Maher, Patrick Maher, M Breen, N O'Meara 0-1 each. Cork : Horgan 0-14 (10f), S Harnedy 1-2, C Lehane, S Kingston 0-3 each, R O'Flynn, T O'Mahony 0-1 each.

Tipperary - B Hogan 7; C Barrett 7, J Barry 7, S O'Brien 7; B Maher 7, R Maher 8, Padraic Maher 8; N McGrath 8, M Breen 7; N O'Meara 7, S Callanan 8, Patrick Maher 7; J O'Dwyer 9, J Forde 7, J McGrath 7. Subs: D McCormack 6 for Breen (49),J Morris 6 for Forde (55), W Connors 6 for O'Meara (63),M Kehoe for Patrick Maher (66), C Darcy for N McGrath (70).

Cork - A Nash 7; S O'Donoghue 6, E Cadogan 6, N O'Leary 7; C Joyce 6, T O'Mahony 6, M Coleman 6; D Fitzgibbon 6, L Meade 6; D Kearney 6, P Horgan 9, R O'Flynn 6; C Lehane 7, S Harnedy 7, S Kingston 6. Subs: D Cahalane 6 for Joyce (44), A Walsh 6 for O'Flynn (60), D Dalton for Kearney (65), J O'Connor for Kingston (71).

Ref - S Cleere (Kilkenny)

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