KIERAN McCARTHY REPORTS
CORK boss Ronan McCarthy didn’t make any excuses after the Rebels badly messed up their lines on Munster senior football final day.
They had the chance to build on their sensational semi-final win against Kerry a fortnight previously, but a lethargic Cork missed the opportunity to be crowned high kings of Munster for the first time since 2012.
Instead, Tipperary take the headlines – and a first Munster SFC title in 85 years.
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) November 22, 2020
The plaudits rest where they belong. Tipperary were by far the better team as they made a massive breakthrough; they played with a purpose and energy that Cork lacked. And in Conor Sweeney and Michael Quinlivan, Tipp had the game’s outstanding forwards who racked up a combined 0-12. On the other hand, Cork’s forward stuttered and struggled to wiggle any bit of space at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
‘We never got to the pitch of the game,’ Ronan McCarthy conceded.
‘They came out of the traps but even when we had a lot of possession of the ball, our decision-making was poor, we rushed our offence which we didn't do against Kerry. We never got a stranglehold on the game and fair play to Tipp for that.’
Cork never got near the level of intensity and work-rate that they showed when taking down Kerry, and it was Tipperary who had three points on the board before Cork even ventured inside their 45. Sweeney (2) and Quinlivan eased the visitors into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead inside three minutes before Luke Connolly (2) and Mark Collins found their range to level matters, 0-3 apiece, after nine minutes.
After Sweeney nudged Tipp back in front, a brace of placed balls by Connolly saw Cork lead 0-5 to 0-4 after 16 minutes – this was the only time they led in the provincial final. Another Sweeney free tied the game, 0-5 apiece, by the first water break.
The second quarter saw Tipp take control. After the teams traded scores, they reeled off five of the next six points to lead 0-11 to 0-7 at the break. Cork were in trouble, they were struggling to get into the game, were too open defensively and too ponderous in attack; the signs weren’t good.
After a low-scoring third quarter saw Tipp’s advantage shaved back by one, 0-12 to 0-9, Cork moved even closer within the last ten minutes, 0-14 to 0-12 after a pair of Mark Collins’ frees and a score from sub Sean White, but Tipp didn’t panic at all. Instead, goalkeeper Evan Comerford landed a free and Quinlivan added another to give them breathing space.
Cork kept coming but they made little headway against a superb Tipp defence and the goal the Rebels needed never looked on the cards.
So, it’s Tipperary that advance to an All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo, at Cork’s expense.
Cork: L Connolly (2f, 1 45), M Collins (4f) 0-4 each; J O’Rourke 0-2; C O’Callaghan, B Hurley, S White, C O’Mahony (f) 0-1 each.
Tipperary: C Sweeney 0-7 (2f, 2m); M Quinlivan 0-5 (1f); L Casey 0-2 (1f); K Fahey, E Comerford (f), P Austin 0-1 each.
Cork: M Martin; K O'Donovan, M Shanley, P Ring; T Corkery, S Meehan, M Taylor; I Maguire, K O'Hanlon; J O'Rourke, C O'Callaghan, R Deane; M Collins, B Hurley, L Connolly.
Subs: C O’Mahony for Connolly (inj, ht), S Ryan for P Ring (39), S White for C O’Callaghan (43), M Keane for K O’Hanlon (58), M Hurley for M Taylor (64).
Tipperary: E Comerford; A Campbell, J Feehan, C O'Shaughnessy; B Maher, K Fahey, R Kiely; S O'Brien, L Casey; Conal Kennedy, M Quinlivan, C O’Riordan; B Fox, C Sweeney, Colman Kennedy.
Subs: L Boland for C Kennedy (52), P Feehan for K Fahey (53), E Moloney for B Fox (60), P Looram for R Kiely (65), P Austin for L Casey (71).
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).