Tipperary 0-17 Cork 0-14
CORK'S memorable win over Kerry two weeks ago was all for nothing.
Instead, history-making Tipperary, 100 years on from Bloody Sunday, bridged a gap of 85 years to secure the Munster football title.
Wearing commemorative white and green jerseys, they tore into the favourites from the off and were more superior than the scoreline suggests. They rose to the occasion.
Cork were flat, lacking the intensity and structure that saw them stun Kerry in the semi-final. They left the form from that clash behind them.
Tipp had heroes in every line, not least their attacking duo Conor Sweeney and Michael Quinlivan, exposing the inexperience of a Rebel rearguard where only Mattie Taylor was over 22. At midfield, Steven O'Brien and Liam Casey offered ball-winning and dynamism but really the victory was based on ferocity and palpable belief through the field.
Cork didn't have that, which was a damning indictment given they hadn't secured the Munster title themselves since 2012. Tipp seized the day and now progress to an All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo next month.
Tipp led 0-11 to 0-7 and Cork needed to tear into the game after half-time. Instead, Sweeney converted a mark straight from the resumption. That pushed them five points ahead and allowed the Premier to defend in numbers throughout the second half, thwarting Cork's efforts at running hard through the middle.
Indeed, Tipp struck the crossbar and had a goal on the rebound disallowed for a square ball in the 36th minute. It was a let-off for the Rebels, especially when a foul on Maguire saw Mark Collins convert a free and then the captain set up Brian Hurley for a lovely point: 0-12 to 0-9 after 41 minutes. Yet there was never the sense that Cork were going to reel Tipp in.
The next 10 minutes were scoreless. pockmarked by mistakes. Tipp spurned a couple of convertible but tricky frees; Cork sent a few promising chances from play askew, though that was largely down to pressure. It was horrible stuff, particularly for the hosts.
It opened up a bit in the fourth quarter, but the closest Cork got was two points, 0-14 to 0-12 when sub Seán White slipped over a point when there was half a goal chance on. The next two scores were from Tipp, a distance free from keeper Evan Comerford and a fourth from play courtesy of Quinlivan.
John O'Rourke's running did yield a few scores, including a couple of Mark Collins frees, but the late goalmouth drama that denied Kerry didn't materialise and Cork didn't deserve an escape route anyway.
They lacked aggression in the tackle, and the support play and patience that was the foundation for the upset against Kerry. There was far too much space in front of Quinlivan and Sweeney, who caused endless problems for rookies Paul Ring and Maurice Shanley. The underdogs showed they meant business by scoring from the throw-in and it was 0-3 to no score before Cork caught their breath.
From there, Ian Maguire thundered into the action at midfield and allied to the metronomic free-taking of Luke Connolly, Cork squeezed ahead, 0-5 to 0-4, before Sweeney levelled ahead of the water break.
David Power's charges returned to the fray with renewed purpose, cutting off the supply lines into Brian Hurley at the edge of the square forcing turnovers in the middle third. Micheál Martin went short with a succession of kick-outs, a reflection of the impression Steven O'Brien and Liam Casey were making at centre-field and Tipp's collective dominance on breaking ball.
By half-time it was 0-11 to 0-7 to Tipperary and it was fully deserved. Only Killian O'Hanlon and Ruairí Deane, in bursts, had taken the fight to Tipp, and the majority of the Rebels were well below par.
The loss of Sean Powter, Man of the Match the last day and an energetic counter-attacking defender of the highest pedigree, was compounded by the availability of Colin O'Riordan for Tipp. Cill na Martra's Tadhg Corkery came in for Powter, while Connolly and Ring started ahead of Paul Walsh and Kevin Flahive.
Tipp had absolutely no fear of Cork. Indeed the shock over Kerry in the Munster semi-final would have only emboldened them.
The Premier beat Cork in league and championship in recent seasons, while underage success at minor and U21 changed the mindset to the degree they knew they were due a provincial title at senior.
And they took their chance at Cork's expense.
C Sweeney 0-7 (0-2 f, 0-2 mark), M Quinlivan 0-5 (0-1 f), L Casey (mark) 0-2, P Austin, E Comerford (f) K Fahey 0-1 each.
L Connolly 0-4 (0-2 f, 0-1 45), M Collins 0-4 f, J O'Rourke 0-2, S White, B Hurley, C O'Mahony (f), C O'Callaghan 0-1 each.
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 (c), Colman Kennedy.
M Martin; K O’Donovan, M Shanley, P Ring; T Corkery, S Meehan, M Taylor; I Maguire (c), K O’Hanlon; J O’Rourke, C O’Callaghan, R Deane; M Collins, B Hurley, L Connolly.
C O'Mahony for Connolly (h-t), S Ryan for Ring (39), S White for O'Callaghan (43), M Keane for O'Hanlon (58), M Hurley for Taylor (63).
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).