National Hurling League – Tipperary vs. Cork – Match Reports


Tipperary celebrated the switching on of the Semple Stadium lights with an eventually comfortable win over a spirited, if inexperienced, Cork side on Saturday evening.

Gerald McCarthy’s young side showed plenty of heart and grit and a decent amount of ability but in the end it was the defending champions who were worthy winners of this NHL Division One tie.

NHL Division One – Tipperary 2-15 Cork 0-9

Sub John O’Brien and full forward Patrick Maher hit the Premier County goals in the second half but by then Tipp had edged clear, the fine free-taking prowess of Barry Johnson not enough to keep Cork in touch.

Paul Kelly had the game’s first effort for Tipp but it sailed wide causing the Premier County fans to groan almost as much as they did a minute later when Tadhg Og Murphy collected Johnson’s pass and fired over a fine opening point for Cork.

Pa Bourke’s first free of the night soon had Liam Sheedy’s men level and after some sloppy shooting from both sides Tipp’s James Woodlock then showed how it was done with a great score from way out the field.

John Devane made it 0-3 to 0-1 before Johnson scored the first of his tally of 0-7 to leave one in it, one that was soon gone when the Bride Rovers man sent a fine free over from the left.

In the meantime, there had been a couple of goal chances when Alan Kennedy in the Cork goal just about got his hurl to a snap-shot from Kelly, and at the other end Cork’s Michael Collins had the ball taken off from him by Diarmuid Fitzgerald as he looked to capitalise on some good play by Aidan Ryan.

Tipp had been lethargic but ended the half the stronger as Shane Maher, sub Seamus Hennessy and Woodlock all added scores, Murphy getting his second to see Cork trail 0-7 to 0-4 at the break.

Johnson began the second half with a stylish score to show that his side were far from dead and buried, but they could not capitalise on it as another period of sloppiness from both sides ensued, eventually halted by a score from the lethal Bourke.

Johnson scored his fourth point but Bourke soon scored his fourth as well after another Hennessy beauty to see Tipp into a 0-10 to 0-6 lead. His fifth and sixth from long-range frees, the second a real belter, had the game at double scores.

Bride Rovers’ indefatigable Johnson continued to plough on for Cork with another free, but then came the moment that made sure of the two points once and for all for Tipp. Benny Dunne sent a long ball forward and Premier County sub John O’Brien was more alert than Cork full back Chris Murphy, catching and turning to fire past Kennedy and put eight points between the sides.

A beautiful Kelly point was added before Johnson’s final two efforts – no question who the star of Cork 2009 has been so far even if the results have not been forthcoming.

Still there was time of goalscorer O’Brien to hook over a delightful point and with Cork dead at this stage, Patrick Maher eased past Conor O’Sullivan and Ger O’Driscoll before firing in a second goal for Tipp.

Tipperary 2-15 Cork 0-09

From the  web site

Saturday, 14 February 2009 21:32

Tipperary ran out nine-point winners as the Gerald McCarthy’s Cork side ran out of steam under the new floodlights at Semple Stadium.

The Rebels fared reasonably well in the first half of this Allianz NHL Division 1 encounter and trailed by just 0-07 to 0-04 at half time.

But Tipp’s fitness and experience told as the game wore on and goals from John O’Brien and full-forward Patrick Maher punished the tiring Leesiders.

Midfielder Barry Johnson was Cork’s top scorer again, with his accurate free-taking helping him rack up seven points.

After Cork’s nine-point reverse to Dublin last weekend, it was not beyond the realms of possibility that Tipperary would run up a cricket score beating of their old rivals.

But the inexperienced Cork outfit stuck to their task well in the opening stages and Tadhg Óg Murphy had the honour of hitting the first point under lights at the famous Thurles venue after two minutes.

Tipp responded with three overs, but the sides were level in the 19th minute following two converted frees from Johnson.

Tipp had centre-forward John Devane yellow-carded after the half hour mark for a high challenge of Ray Ryan, but his enforced departure proved to be a blessing in disguise as his replacement Seamus Hennessy scored a point and set up James Woodlock moments later to help the hosts to a three-point lead at the interval.

The Rebels continued to show well in the early stages of the second period, but O’Brien’s goal in the 55th minute was the hammer blow Tipp had been waiting for.

The goal came via a combination of two substitutes, with O’Brien plucking a high ball in from Benny Dunne before rifling past Cork goalkeeper Alan Kennedy.

The win was wrapped up in the dying moments when Patrick Maher netted Tipp’s second three-pointer and substitute Gearoid Ryan finished the scoring when he dissected the uprights in injury time.

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