Massive effort isn't rewarded as another season slips by for Cork hurlers

Massive effort isn't rewarded as another season slips by for Cork hurlers

Robbie O’Flynn started at midfield but only came into the game after a switch to half-forward. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

SPORT can be cruel at times and it certainly was for Cork against Tipperary.

Their season over despite a battling display in tough conditions in Limerick.

Having been well beaten by Waterford in their opening game Cork bounced back with a far more impressive display against Dublin, with greater aggression and determination delighting supporters. However, drawing the All-Ireland champions wasn't much of a reward. 

Tipp came in bulling to get back on track after losing to Limerick, no matter who they were paired with it. That it was the Rebels only focused their minds further.

What you can't fault in any way was the Leesiders' level of commitment and determination here and it was two sucker punch goals that cost them in the end.

The weather, particularly in the first half, was horrendous and Tipperary having won the toss elected to play with them. It was tricky for both sides, but it was harder on Cork facing the elements.

At half-time, Cork would have been happy with their initial efforts. Two points down at the break and turning to play with that strong wind.

In that first half, they fought ferociously for every breaking ball and in some ways didn't deserve to be behind. Horgan's goal typified that aggression and determination in style.

A tussle for possession saw Cork players there in numbers and out the back popped Horgan to run at the Tipp defence and cooly slot home. That came from swarm tackling and hunting in packs, which was there for all to see in that half.

Declan Dalton moved out around the middle of the pitch to help out, leaving Jack O'Connor on his own inside at times. Dalton's aggression was helping to smother Tipp and they were finding it tough to break down the Cork rearguard.

The second half didn't go to plan and even the weather seemed to be against Cork as the rain eased and the wind became less of a factor.

Tipperary's Niall O’Meara and Darragh Fitzgibbon of Cork. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Tipperary's Niall O’Meara and Darragh Fitzgibbon of Cork. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Jason Forde's goal, after 41 minutes, was a big blow as it put Tipp four points up, but Cork responded well and 20 minutes later they led again.

Jake Morris's goal in the 68th minute proved to be a blow too far and it killed off any chance of a Cork win, in a game that their manager Liam Sheedy admitted he was glad to get over and move on.

“The goal after half-time was a big score and Jake’s goal finishing up just gave us a cushion because Cork came right back at us after we got the first goal.

“It’s not long coming around but we’re exactly where we want to be, back in the All-Ireland series after beating a very, very good Cork team,” said Sheedy.

For Cork, the wait goes on and thoughts will have to quickly turn to what we need to do to bring Liam McCarthy back to Leeside.

There were some positives to take from the loss with the likes of Dalton showing they have plenty to offer. 

Yet when the ante went up in the final 10 minutes or so Cork struggled.

Michael Breen showed his class throughout and he dominated in the middle of the park, shooting five points and picking up the Man of the Match award.

As Kieran Kingston said after Cork have raised the bar this year, but have to raise it further to have any chance of winning the All-Ireland.

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