Cork hurling drought goes on in the driving rain at Gaelic Grounds 

Cork hurling drought goes on in the driving rain at Gaelic Grounds 

Cork manager Kieran Kingston dejected after the loss to Tipp. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

CORK’S quest to end an All-Ireland hurling famine will now extend to 16 years.

This cany only be described as a very disappointing loss to Tipperary in the second round of the qualifiers at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday.

The Premier, on the other hand, stayed on course, to defend the title they won 12 months ago and perhaps retain it for the first time since the mid-'60s.

And maybe that’s what’s going to happen in the coming weeks as they illustrated here why they are the holders of hurling’s biggest prize.

In terrible conditions on the Ennis Road ground, they dug as deep as they have had to do in many a long day in getting the verdict over their greatest rivals.

Seamus Callanan with Damien Cahalane after. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Seamus Callanan with Damien Cahalane after. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Having played with a substantial wind in the opening half, they looked to be in all sorts of difficulties when they went in with just a two-point advantage and the portents at that juncture suggested that Cork had the hard work done.

But things were much different thereafter and Tipperary came back out and took the game to Cork in a much more positive way.

There was far greater urgency in their approach and it soon became very obvious that whatever words of wisdom or what type of a rollicking they might have got was having the desired approach.

The changes that were made, the arrival of Willie Connors and newcomer Paul Flynn into the fray made a significant difference while their attack became more penetrative.

In the opening half, they shot a dozen wides as against just three for Cork and at the break, Kieran Kingston would certainly have been the much happier of the two managers.

In that opening half only Michael Breen, the best player on the pitch over the 70 minutes, made the necessary impact and they were struggling to cope with the work-rate and the intensity of Cork’s play.

Big Tipp guns like Noel McGrath, Bonner Maher and Seamus Callanan were peripheral figures while John McGrath was replaced before the break.

The effort and tackling in the Cork half-back line and midfield was immense, players were tracking back in the terrible conditions and when they goaled in the 21st minute from the alertness and brilliance of Patrick Horgan, it was a massive score.

Deccie Dalton, who had put in a fine shift and was a considerable loss when he went off injured after 50 minutes, opened Cork’s scoring after Jason Forde had pointed two Tipperary frees.

Horgan’s superb strike for the goal was followed by a point from Tim O’Mahony in the 28th minute and at that juncture, Cork were in front.

Tipp’s finishing was desperately poor but, in fairness, the elements did not make it easy for anyone out there while Cork did put them under pressure.

Two late points from Dan McCormack and Forde gave Tipp the half-time advantage and that became just one point after they resumed when Shane Kingston split the posts.

But it wasn’t long before the game’s complexion changed and points from Breen and Connors had the Premier County motoring. In the 42nd minute, Forde got in for a fine goal followed by a Callanan point and suddenly it was a five-point game.

Callanan was a far greater influence in the second half as were a lot more players in the Blue and Gold.

However, mainly through the excellence of Seamus Harnedy, Cork were just one in arrears after 53 minutes with the St Ita’s man rifling over a hat-trick of unanswered points.

It was all square after 61 minutes but another Breen point and a smashing goal from Jake Morris swung the pendulum firmly in Tipp’s direction.

Paul Flynn secured his second point and that was pretty much that. 

Tipperary got the job done, which didn't seem the case when Cork got the momentum midway through the second half. 

Mark Coleman was outstanding for Cork again in defence, Harnedy, Horgan and Dalton could not be faulted but it mattered little in the end, their year was done. Over too soon, once more.

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