Tipp v Cork Match Report

McGrath helps Tipp scramble over the line

SEÁN MORAN at Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the Irish Times newspaper

Tipperary 1-22 Cork 0-24: IT’S AS well to beware the hype in relation to Cork-Tipperary Munster hurling encounters but it would take an irredeemable curmudgeon not to have been well entertained by yesterday’s provincial semi-final in Páirc Uí­ Chaoimh. It went all the way to the final whistle, which was greeted with a surge of relief by the champions Tipperary, who had to contest most of the second half with 14 men after the dismissal of John O’Brien for a second yellow card in the 48th minute, but who held on for a one-point victory.

But just before the Toomevara man’s departure, Tipp had given themselves a three-point buffer, which just about protected them in the time remaining although Cork never gave up. Even when the margin stretched to four in the 64th minute, the home side persevered and had reduced the deficit to the minimum by the time referee Brian Gavin brought it all to an end. The Offaly official had an eventful afternoon and even before the throw-in some overwrought posturing from Cathal Naughton and Pádraic Maher necessitated the administering of two yellow cards. Gavin was also compromised by the increasingly unfit-for-purpose advantage rule. His readiness to apply it invariably resulted in the team so “favoured” sorry they hadn’t got the free and in one case when play was pulled back in the 44th minute, John O’Brien was on his way to pile-driving the ball into the net for Tipperary only for the free to be awarded – although in fairness to the referee the whistle had sounded early in that case.

So many different incidents in a match like this could have made the difference but the champions just about deserved the result. They rose to the various challenges presented: containing Cork against the wind in the first half, seizing the lead 10 minutes after the break and raising their game in defence for the remainder of the match. Cork were crestfallen at the narrow defeat, only their second at home to Tipperary since 1923, but they were carrying a couple of handicaps too many between the overall inexperience of the team and the fact that it was their first championship outing of the summer. O’Brien’s red card had opened an unexpected window of opportunity but Cork were just unable to clamber through it.

They started well however and opened up a four-point lead twice in the first quarter. In the subplot of the duelling dead-ball shooters, Tipp’s Pa Bourke shaded the totals by 0-12 to 0-11 but Patrick Horgan took virtually as consistent a line with wrongdoing. Bourke, for his part, will certainly be relieved that his gamble just before half-time, trading a handy point for a thrash at goal from a 20-metre free from which the ball was cleared, didn’t prove more costly. The first half was like a tennis match with the ball flying backwards and forwards and scores being picked off with such frequency that the four minutes between the 28th and 32nd was easily the longest the crowd had to wait for a score.

Cork’s two most exciting prospects Darren Sweetnam and Conor Lehane got early points – the former swooping into goal- scoring territory and the latter reacting after being blocked to flick up the ball and slip free to score from 60 metres. Tipperary’s defence wasn’t comfortable and there other half chances for goals but Cork appeared content to keep the scoreboard ticking over. There were questions asked about the free out awarded on half an hour after Patrick Cronin had touched a long-range free from goalkeeper Anthony Nash into the net but instead of having a cushion of five at the break, Cork were going in with a lead of just two, 0-14 to 0-12, after a first half with wind advantage.

The first 10 minutes of the second half trimmed the deficit by just one but soon afterwards the central events of the match came in quick succession. Tipperary’s goal was worthy of the occasion. It began with a spectacular fetch from Patrick Maher (who had a tremendous match imposing himself physically at centre forward, hustling out possession and drawing frees) straight from Brendan Cummins’s puck-out. Maher laid it off to John O’Brien, whose quick transfer enabled Lar Corbett to advance and hand pass to Noel McGrath, whose shot exploded past Nash to snatch a lead from Cork which they never regained. McGrath finished with an economical 1-4.

Two minutes later O’Brien was gone but the Tipp defence stepped up. Pádraic Maher imposed himself on the left wing, taking one spectacular catch, and breaking forward on a number of occasions while Conor O’Mahony bulwarked the defence in the face of an adjusted match flow, as the screw turned with five forwards trying to occupy six backs. Declan Ryan ran the bench to inject new energy while two of Cork’s replacements Cian McCarthy and Daniel Kearney hit points, as Cork refused to let go – both also hit ultimately costly wides. But they were just two factors in a satisfying contest that swung on a razor-thin margin.

TIPPERARY: 1. B Cummins; 2. C O’Brien, 4. M Cahill, 3. P Curran; 5. T Stapleton, 6. C O’Mahony, 7. Pádraic Maher (0-1); 8. B Maher (0-2), 9. S McGrath; 10. G Ryan (0-1), 11. Patrick Maher, 12. P Bourke (0-12, seven frees and two 65s); 13. B O’Meara (0-2), 14. J O’Brien, 15. N McGrath (1-4). Subs: 19. L Corbett for Ryan (34 mins), 17. S Bourke for O’Meara (55), 25. J Woodlock for B Maher (57), 20. E Kelly for P Bourke (67), 21. D Maher for Stapleton (70 mins).

Yellow cards: Pádraic Maher (before throw-in), J O’Brien (27 and 48 mins), O’Mahony (46). Red card: O’Brien (48 mins).

CORK: 1. A Nash; 3. B Murphy, 2. S O’Neill, 4. C O’Sullivan; 5. T Kenny, 6. E Cadogan, 7. W Egan; 8. D Sweetnam (0-1), 9. L McLaughlin; 10. C Lehane (0-2), 11. P Cronin (0-1), 12. C Naughton (0-1); 13. J Coughlan (0-3), 15. P Horgan (0-11, nine frees), 14. P O’Sullivan (0-3). Subs: 24. C McCarthy (0-1) for Naughton (47 mins), 21. D Kearney (0-1) for Sweetnam (50 mins), 25. L O’Farrell for Lehane (63 mins).

Yellow cards: Naughton (before throw-in), Cronin (38 mins), B Murphy (43 mins).

Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly).

Wily Tipp outfox young pretenders

Cork 0-24 Tipperary 1-22

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Not an epic Munster senior hurling championship semi-final in sunny Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday by any means, nothing like the blood-and-thunder slugfests of old between these two great rivals, nor even the high-voltage games of the recent past. What it lacked in bite, however (the only fireworks took place before the throw-in, Cork’s Cathal Naughton and Tipp’s Padraic Maher earning yellow cards for a harmless bout of hurley-jabbing), it made up for in excitement, an enthralling contest between two evenly-matched and well-balanced teams, thoroughly enjoyed by a shirt-sleeved crowd of 32,568.

Worthy winners too, Tipperary reduced to 14 men in the 48th minute after John O’Brien saw red for a second yellow-card offence but still managing ! to hold back the surging red tide. If the champions had taken all their chances though, had they converted all their goal opportunities especially, they wouldn’t have been left hanging on for dear life in those final minutes. What a challenge thrown down by Cork though, what a mature performance even from the likes of teenage midfielder Darren Sweetnam, making his championship debut but playing like a veteran. If they can develop a killer instinct, if they stop settling for the easy point when there is more on offer and go for the jugular, they will become a force. They too had their chances yesterday, late in the second half especially, when this game was very finely poised, but didn’t take them.

In the 59th minute Jamie Coughlan (fine game overall) had a man with him on his left and a clear path to goal but opted for the point; in the 68th minute, Cian McCarthy made a magnificent soaring catch but turned and shot far too soon, again with a man clear on his left (missed the target to boot). Very positive signs for Jimmy Barry-Murphy and his selectors but plenty to work on too — this team still has a way to go. Tipperary won the toss and opted to play into the wind; it worked out for them but in hindsight, you’d wonder — were they wise to concede that advantage to a precocious Cork side? Would they have been better off trying to put them away early rather than gifting Cork the considerable wind advantage, an advantage of which they made full use? Eight points to four Cork led after 14 minutes, 0-12 to 0-8 just seven minutes later by which time every Cork starting forward had scored from play. By contrast an overreliance on Patrick Bonner Maher as a ball-winner and on Pa Bourke as a finisher was already becoming obvious in Tipperary’s attack.

What a game by Bonner though, what an influence he has on every game he plays. His ball-winning prowess borders on the miraculous, his ability to find a player in space equally good. He didn’t score yesterday (had a couple of half-chances a more clinical finisher would have taken, but then who has everything?) but his mark was on almost every Tipperary score. Tipperary did have a good last 15 minutes in the first half, closed the gap to two points at the break (0-14 to 0-12), would have taken the lead but for a fine goal-line stop of a Pa Bourke 20m free by Cork keeper Anthony Nash in the final seconds.

The second half was a continuation of the high-tempo open play of the first, Cork extending their lead to three points (Horgan leading by example with yet another drilled free, lovely control from Paudie O’Sullivan for the second, looked dangerous every time he got on the ball) before Tipperary went on what turned out to be the game-winning run. Started with two pointed frees from Pa Bourke, then came the game-breaker, 46th minute, the only goal, and worthy it was. Started with a fantastic catch by Bonner Maher of a long Brendan Cummins clearance, outlet pass to John O’Brien who then sent Lar Corbett away (had come on as a sub in the 34th minute); the cover was sucked out, Lar passed to the unmarked Noel McGrath, absolutely no chance for Nash. A further Tipperary point, this one by the marauding Padraic Maher, and in just five minutes Tipperary went from three points down to three in front, 1-16 to 0-16. A moment of madness then from the veteran John O’Brien, however, a wild pull on Eoin Cadogan and a second yellow card, and suddenly it was game on again. Cork came back, had their chances as noted above, but ultimately came up short.

Scorers for Tipperary: P Bourke 0-12 (7f, 2 65s); N McGrath 1-4; B O’Meara 0-2; B Maher 0-2; Padraic Maher, G Ryan, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: P Horgan 0-11 (8f); P O’Sullivan 0-3; J Coughlan 0-3; C Lehane 0-2; P Cronin, C Naughton, D Kearney, C McCarthy, D Sweetnam, 0-1 each.

Subs for Tipp: L Corbett (Ryan 34); S Bourke (O’Meara inj. 55); J Woodlock (B Maher 57); E Kelly (Pa Bourke 67); D Maher (Stapleton 70).

Subs for Cork: C McCarthy (Naughton 47); D Kearney (Sweetnam 50); L O’Farrell (Lehane 63).

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly).

Lar’s seamless return

By John Fogarty for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Given it was in enemy territory, the ovation Lar Corbett received was thunderous. Two minutes before half-time, he made a first competitive move in nine months, four after he announced his retirement from the inter-county game and two since he announced his return. The travelling Tipperary throngs greeted him with rapturous applause while the Cork-dominated Blackrock End booed his introduction. Early in the second half, a small proportion of the home crowd jeered him with chants of “Who are you?” after he fumbled half a goal chance.

But it was Corbett who had the last laugh, setting up Noel McGrath for the only goal of the game, as well as winning a free. Ghosting around defenders and searching for loose ball, it really was as if he never left. If Brendan Maher had looked up in the 47th minute, he might have seen his team-mate waiting to pounce. Asked afterwards if he found it difficult to step back into the set-up after two months away, he responded with a deadpan “no”.

But what about his entrance to the fray? With just one point between the sides at that stage and with Cork aided by the wind, it wasn’t as if Tipperary were struggling. “Nothing’s going to be a surprise. Whenever you’re called upon, you’re called upon, so it doesn’t really make a difference. You just have to be ready from the start the very same as everyone else. We’re delighted that lads came off the bench and we’re looking forward to getting back into training Tuesday night, and as a panel to fight for 15 places for the Munster final. That’s the most important thing.”

Concerning the goal, it was an excellently-worked move via a Patrick “Bonner” Maher fetch and interplay between John O’Brien and Corbett to set up McGrath. Corbett could have struck towards goal himself but said: “The best man at the moment is Noel McGrath to take the right option. “I think the right option was to give it to Noel and that’s the most important thing. “We saw it with Kilkenny and Dublin. The man in the best position gets the ball and that’s really what we’re trying to strive towards.”

McGrath, the RTÉ man of the match although Bonner Maher had major claims, was humble about the goal. “I was just lucky to be in the right place. It could be somebody else the next day. That’s just the way it is. You play the ball to the right man and do the best thing for the team.” McGrath was more effusive about how the team coped after John O’Brien’s dismissal. “I’m speechless, really, because it was such a hard-working performance. We’ve put in serious work since the Limerick match, training very hard. Everybody in the gym and the field and everything.” After an early McGrath point, Tipperary didn’t lead again until the 46th when McGrath struck for goal.

Corbett put down their ability to hold the lead for the remainder of the game to the character of the players. “We can talk about it in training, we can talk about it in the dressing room but you have to prove that on the field. John had hard luck to get sent off but the character of the boys came out there and they proved it on the field.” Coming after Kilkenny’s emphatic win over Dublin, things look ominous for the teams remaining in the competition but Corbett’s optimism shines through. “We have to believe. That’s it… we really believe.” A repeat of last year’s Munster final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh will have people remembering Tipperary’s seven-goal rout over Waterford.

But Corbett is reminded of what happened afterwards. “We stood here after the Munster final and said there is a big hole here where we could fall into, that we could get carried away. The Munster final, we are looking forward to it and there is going to be pressure for places in Thurles, starting on Tuesday night. “You can’t get complacent because there is someone standing waiting for your spot.”

Tigerish Cork tyros please JBM

By Michael Moynihan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Jimmy Barry-Murphy was taking the positives from yesterday’s defeat by Tipperary, pointing to his side’s lack of experience as a factor in Cork’s one-point defeat. “The bit of inexperience counted against us in the end, we had opportunities and didn’t take them. Tipperary just about deserved it on the day.” The Cork manager acknowledged that the goal his side had disallowed in the first half was a “major factor”.

“We could have gone in with a five-point lead having played with the wind. We probably needed that. But the players showed great courage after being four points down to come back, though certainly having an extra man helped in that respect. I’m very pleased with the lads and couldn’t fault any of them. “It’s hard to see it from where we were, in fairness, I just couldn’t see why it was disallowed — we contested a ball in the square and it went in, but to be fair to the referee I couldn’t see it. We take it on the chin and move on.”

The manager was unhappy with Tipperary’s match-winning goal: “Certainly at that stage we wanted a free and it was definite. The player wasn’t gone away and I can’t believe he didn’t give a free. I’m not blaming the referee, these things happen, but in that situation, in a tight game, we’d have preferred to get our free. “To be fair to the referee, some days it goes with you and some days it doesn’t. In fairness to Tipperary, Noel McGrath finished the chance clinically. I hope we learn from that and when we get those opportunities.that we take them.” The Cork boss said the qualifiers would be a learning curve all round: “They’re a tough route to go, I’ve never been down that route as player or manager, and it’s new to me. Our job now will be to pick up our players after the defeat today, which can be quite shattering.”

He added that Cork had needed the performance after the crushing league final defeat to Kilkenny. “The League final was an absolute debacle for us,” said Barry-Murphy. “It was a learning experience for us on the line as well and we took the major share of the blame because we felt we hadn’t prepared the players properly for the challenges that Kilkenny would give. I’m thrilled with the response — they showed great character and great courage to play in front of their own supporters and put up a great show. We didn’t win and we’re never happy to lose, but to come back from the League final they were fantastic today.”

Asked if he’d prefer to face Offaly or Dublin, Barry-Murphy said: “It’s a difficult route for everyone — no one wants to be chasing it that way. We know where we were after the League final so we know that Dublin didn’t become a bad team over night, or Offaly. Regardless it is going to be a very difficult game for us and we’re in no position to be over-confident against anyone. We face into both of those games with trepidation.” The Cork manager said Niall McCarthy (broken knuckle) was a doubt for the first qualifier game, and rebutted suggestions his side were back up with the best teams around. “I wouldn’t think that at all. We have a long way to go yet before we’re as good as Kilkenny or Tipperary even. It’s a learning process and a hard learning process, but since the League final the players have shown great attitude. You can’t ask for any more than that.”

Tipperary hold on in thrilling finish

Report from the GAA.ie web site

Munster GAA Hurling Championship Semi-Final: Cork 0-24 Tipperary 1-22

In the end Tipperary just about hung on, their greater experience and greater strength in depth proving enough to hold off a brave Cork comeback in a thrilling Munster semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday. Cork had the better for the first half and led by 0-14 to 0-12 at the break, but the reigning champions struck for the decisive goal on 45 minutes, the returning Lar Corbett playing in his team-mate Noel McGrath, who finished a superb move with a neat finish. McGrath added a point seconds after the game restarted and Tipperary looked to be in the driving seat until John O’Brien was shown a second yellow card just two minutes after the goal.

Tipperary played the remaining 24 minutes with 14 men, but they always looked in control until the final 10 minutes, when Cork came back to hit the final three scores of the game to set up a thrilling finale. However, a late wide from Cian McCarthy proved costly as the Rebels’ man marksman, Pa Horgan, had to drop over his ninth point of the game 90 seconds into added time and hope that referee Brian Gavin would allow enough time for the game to restart and for the home side to, perhaps, snatch a final, equalising score of the game.

Alas, it was not to be for Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s young side, who will definitely feel that they missed a great chance to cause a big upset and knock the reigning champions out of the competition. They will certainly look back on the game with regrets, and especially a disallowed goal at the end of the first half, when Jamie Coughlan was penalised after touching a dropping ball past Brendan Cummins. But Tipperary showed plenty of character to win a game that might well have slipped away from them. Manager Declan Ryan had the luxury of bringing 2010 Hurler of the Year Corbett off the bench just before half-time, while six-time GAA All Star Eoin Kelly was also brought in to lend some vital experience in those edgy final minutes.

Barry-Murphy had given youth its chance with a bold team selection and it looked to have paid off in the first half, but the lack of experienced players available to him was illustrated when Daniel Kearney, Luke O’Farrell and Cian McCarthy were the trio he chose to bring off the bench in the second half. Tipperary go into a Munster final against Waterford on July 15 for second year in a row with a second impressive win behind them, while Cork go into the Qualifiers knowing they gave Tipperary the fright of their lives.

Any doubts over the intensity and competitiveness the game would be played at were erased before a ball had been thrown in, with Pádraic Maher and Cathal Naughton engaged in a bout of rutting before the ball was thrown in. When the game did start, Noel McGrath put the reigning champions ahead inside a minute, but it was Cork who made the better start, with scores from Horgan, Darren Sweetnam and Conor Lehane giving the home side a 0-3 to 0-1 lead. The opening quarter was fast and furious, with both sides trading scores at a remarkable rate. Gearóid Ryan and McGrath had the gap back down to one by the 11th minute, but the Rebels hit a rich seam of form to lace three points together, the constant movement of their young and very mobile forwards causing the Tipperary defence serious problems.

Horgan was very accurate from frees, while Jamie Coughlan pitched in with two points from play in the first half. Horgan’s first from play was a real beauty, his shot from under the covered stand giving the Rebels a 0-12 to 0-8 lead on 21 minutes following a breathless start to the game. Eventually, the game settled down and as Tipp finally began to gain a toehold in the middle of the field Pa Bourke scored from three successive placed balls to cut the gap to 0-12 to 0-11. Horgan’s second point from play came seconds after Tipperary manager Declan Ryan brought Corbett in for his first taste of competitive action this year, the 2010 Hurler of the Year replacing Gearóid Ryan on 34 minutes.

Cork were 0-14 to 0-12 ahead in stoppage time, but the gap might have been less had Pa Bourke’s 21-metre free not been saved by a thicket of Cork defenders on the stroke of half-time. Tipp trailed by 0-16 to 0-15 when they grabbed the only goal of the game. Patrick Maher won possession with a towering leap, and when he fed Corbett a roar of anticipation went up in the Tipperary end. Corbett, though, flicked a neat pass into McGrath, whose finish past Anthony Nash was precise.

McGrath added another point almost immediately and suddenly all the momentum was with the Premier men. That was until John O’Brien was shown a second yellow card and the champions were forced to answer some searching questions in the final quarter. Cork hit three of the next four points and were level by the 55th minute. But Tipp never allowed Cork to edge in front with the superb Pa Bourke hitting two more frees and McGrath adding two more points to bring his tally to 1-4. When Corbett was fouled with six minutes left, Pa Bourke slotted over his 12th point of the game and it looked like Tipperary were home and dry. Points from Kearney and two from Horgan reduced the gap to one in added time, but Tipperary just about held on to win a gripping contest.

Cork Scorers: D Sweetnam 0-1, C Lehane 0-2, P Cronin 0-1, C Naughton 0-1, J Coughlan 0-3, P O’Sullivan 0-3, P Horgan 0-11 (0-9f), D Kearney 0-1, C McCarthy 0-1,

Tipperary Scorers: Pádraic Maher 0-1, B Maher 0-2, P Bourke 0-12 (0-7f, 0-2 65), B Maher 0-2, B O’Meara 0-2, N McGrath 1-4.

Cork: A Nash; S O’Neill, B Murphy, C O’Sullivan; T Kenny, E Cadogan, W Egan; D Sweetnam, L McLoughlin; C Lehane, P Cronin, C Naughton; J Coughlan, P O’Sullivan, P Horgan. Subs: C McCarthy for Naughton (46), D Kearney for Sweetam (50), L O’Farrell for Lehane (62)

Tipperary: B Cummins; C O’Brien, P Curran, M Cahill; Stapleton, C O’Mahony, Pádraic Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan, Patrick Maher, P Bourke; B O’Meara, J O’Brien, N McGrath. Subs: Lar Corbett for G Ryan (34), S Bourke for B O’Meara (55), J Woodlock for B Maher (57), E Kelly for P Bourke (67), D Maher for Stapleton (70).

Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly)

Attendance: 32, 568

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