Fintan O’Toole reports from Páirc Uí Chaoimh
IF 2018 WAS a summer of setbacks for Tipperary, marked by a winless run from four Munster outings, this was the sign of a new and fresh season.
A first day out in the 2019 structure yielded a victory. They achieved that by claiming the scalp of the provincial champions from the last two years and triumphed on Cork’s home patch as well.
Chalking up 2-28 provided evidence of the intricate attacking patterns that Tipperary weaved together to such deadly effect and the troubles they inflicted on the Cork rearguard. Their prized assets up front of Seamus Callanan and John McGrath both banged home goals but the scorers were supplied from several sectors.
11 different starting players got on the scoresheet, goalkeeper Brian Hogan and their full-back line the only players missing. John O’Dwyer weighed in with 0-7 from play in a sparkling showing and they’ll be in a buoyant mood when they welcome Waterford to Thurles next Sunday.
Cork face the onerous task of heading to face All-Ireland kingpins Limerick, looking like they will require a result to salvage their campaign. They shipped a huge total on the scoreboard, and were indebted to Anthony Nash for diving to beat away Jason Forde’s 26th minute penalty.
Seamus Harnedy cut through to flash home a superbly-struck goal in the 65th minute but it was too late to alter the outcome. They had suffered too much damage by that stage. Patrick Horgan amassed 0-14 yet it was ultimately a sobering afternoon for a team that have enjoyed so many bright moments in Munster over the past two seasons.
Páirc Uí Chaoimh was a venue that helped define the first coming of Liam Sheedy as Tipperary boss. On his maiden Munster afternoon as manager in June 2008 his Tipperary charges halted an 85-year losing streak. The flipside came in May 2010 when Tipperary were submerged by a wave of Cork goals, that game transpiring to be the unlikely springboard for a recovery that yielded the Liam MacCarthy Cup by September.
Tipperary hurling boss Liam Sheedy.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Sheedy arrived with his team today in a stadium that had undergone a considerable facelift since then. The cost of that refurbishment and a faulty pitch surface have sparked plenty controversy but come throw-in at 4pm, the field looked immaculate and 30,274 spectators were present in anticipation.
And Tipperary couldn’t have been happier with how the game unfolded early on. True they shipped the game’s first point to Cork’s Harnedy but then his namesake and the opposite captain pounced moments later at the other end. Callanan was ruthless at exploiting an opening to ink a goal next to his name in the teamsheet.
Tipperary were flying, their rotating set of attackers confusing the Cork defence and creating swathes of space for players to roam into. When Callanan clipped over a 17th minute point they were 1-8 to 0-5 ahead, a position that captured the control they were exerting.
Seamus Harnedy in action against the Tipperary defence.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Cork were struggling yet the rhythms of the game switched as they tapped into a run of strong form. They registered six points on the bounce with Harnedy, Patrick Horgan and Shane Kingston all involved in their best work. Suddenly by the 24th minute it was level, 1-8 to 0-11, and the match was as delicately balanced as it had been envisaged beforehand.
At the break Tipperary clung to a slender lead, 1-13 to 0-15. Horgan finished the half with a stunning long-range free to bring his total to 0-10, another display of clinical marksmanship.
Tipperary had always carried the greater goal threat and when they got the scent of an opportunity they seized it in the 50th minute. O’Dwyer arrowed a lovely crossfield pass for John McGrath who stepped inside the cover and smashed home his shot.
We hadn’t reached the midway mark of the second half by that juncture but it had the sense of a game-changing moment as it propelled Tipperary ahead by 2-20 to 0-18. They wouldn’t relinquish the winning position from there.
Seamus Callanan celebrates hitting the net for Tipperary.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Scorers for Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 1-4, John O’Dwyer 0-7, Jason Forde 0-5 (0-3f), Noel McGrath 0-4 (0-1 ’65), John McGrath 1-1, Brendan Maher 0-2, Ronan, Padraic Maher, Patrick Maher, Michael Breen, Niall O’Meara 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-14 (0-10f), Seamus Harnedy 1-2, Shane Kingston, Conor Lehane 0-3 each, Robbie O’Flynn, Tim O’Mahony 0-1 each.
of the team
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1. Brian Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha)
2. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill)
3. James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane)
4. Seán O’Brien (Newport)
5. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
6. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
8. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
9. Michael Breen (Ballina)
10. Niall O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs)
13. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule)
12. Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha)
15. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
11. Séamus Callanan (Drom-Inch – captain)
14. Jason Forde (Silvermines)
25. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh) for Breen (49)
26. Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg) for Forde (55)
19. Willie Connors (Kiladangan) for O’Meara (63)
23. Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash) Patrick Maher (65)
20. Cian Darcy (Kilruane McDonaghs) for Noel McGrath (70)
1. Anthony Nash (Kanturk)
2. Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra)
3. Eoin Cadogan (Douglas)
4. Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons)
5. Christopher Joyce (Na Piarsaigh)
6. Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum)
7. Mark Coleman (Blarney)
8. Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville)
12. Luke Meade (Newcestown)
18. Robbie O’Flynn (Erins Own)
11. Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s – captain)
10. Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields)
14. Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers)
13. Conor Lehane (Midleton)
15. Shane Kingston (Douglas)
17. Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s) for Joyce (44)
19. Aidan Walsh (Kanturk) for O’Flynn (59)
24. Declan Dalton (Fr O’Neill’s) for Kearney (65)
25. Jack O’Connor (Sarsfields) for Kingston (inj) (69)
Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny)
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