SUPER Saturday was a great day for hurling but not for Cork, who will feel they left a great chance behind them to knock out Tipp.
We saw three very entertaining games.
The Leinster final was very good, with Kilkenny showing it's vital to have a strong bench because that is what won it. Clare also had a few lads coming in to make a big difference in their surprise win over Wexford.
In the Gaelic Grounds, the Tipperary substitutions had a big impact on the game more so than Cork, who despite playing very well, did not have the strength in depth that Tipp had.
I believe this is one of the major reasons why Cork came up short in this game. There are other reasons, like the loss of Declan Dalton, who was playing very well, very strong on the ball and causing a lot of problems for the Tipp defence, generally making a nuisance of himself.
The pitch suited his style, as Limerick is a tight pitch. His direct play was paying dividends, and when he was forced to leave the pitch because of injury Cork didn't have a replacement with his strength and power.
This was vital on a bad night weatherwise.
Another very important reason for the defeat, and I mentioned it in my preview, was it was Cork's third week in a row playing. On pitches as heavy as they are at this time of year that can take its toll on top players.
It was very evident in the last 10 minutes that Cork were definitely getting fatigued. Once you get tired your concentration goes, no matter how hard you are trying.
In my opinion, this played a major part in Cork's loss, as Tipperary looked a way fresher side in those vital minutes. I think it is unfair on any team to have to play three weeks in a row.
This happened to some teams in the round-robin series as well when things were right in this country. I believe it is something the GAA will have to look at going forward.
I fancied Cork to win this game if their attitude was right. Well, their attitude was first class.
They played very well, moved the ball very well, and had probably one of the best players on the field in Mark Coleman. He was everywhere for Cork, playing the sweeper role to perfection. Time after time he broke up Tipperary attacks, giving great supply to his forwards, but the forward division was a bit disappointing.
Shane Kingston, not his usual performance, as he was well-marked by the Tipp defence. Jack O'Connor is a very young player with a good future but as an inside forward you should be getting on the score sheet. Cathal Barrett had his measure.
Robbie O'Flynn was not as effective as he was against Dublin. Not running enough at the Tipp defence who had their homework done.
Therefore Cork were very reliant on Patrick Horgan and Seamus Harnedy for their scores. Harnedy had a brilliant second half and he single-handedly brought Cork back into it, taking some great scores, and also taking on the Tipp defence. As usual, Horgan was Cork's best attacker. What a goal he got, took it really well.
I believe Cork should have introduced Darragh Fitzgibbon a lot sooner. He seemed fit enough and caused problems with his direct running.
I thought they could have placed him at midfield, as Tipp were winning the battle there, especially with Michael Breen dominating and he finished with five points from play. Fitzgibbon would have had the pace to go with him and counteract that.
I also believe bringing on subs in the 70th minute, unless you are trying to waste time when you are winning, is pointless. It gives them no time to do anything.
Cork needed to bring on fresh legs for the last 15 minutes because players were tiring. Fresh legs are very important at a time when they are needed most. This was an energy-snapping game.
Overall I believe this was an improved performance from Cork. They were poor against Waterford and that cost them and is why they are out of this championship.
It's a long time since Cork won an All-Ireland, too long. They must be doing something very wrong.
My belief is that the players are in Cork, but they are not being managed or coached properly in the finer aspects of the game. Surely management can do something about the defence leaking scores at vital times?
With all the experienced people, players must defend properly on the training field. This management does not look decisive on the line at times.
They have a lot to learn for next year and one thing they have to be is more decisive. Liam Sheedy and his management were certainly decisive, taking off top-class players when they were not performing.
Cork keep making the same mistakes and therefore the same results. Time to change that or they will be going a lot longer without All-Irelands.
This is how the Cork public judge their team.
Just to finish up, I have to say I have seen many great individual displays, too numerous to mention over a long number of years, but the display I have seen from Tony Kelly against Wexford was one of the greatest.
And I'm not being biased being a Clare man. He basically beat Wexford on his own with his skill and dash, and above all his score taking. A pleasure to watch.