Tipp laid down a major marker against Cork in the 2011 minor series

Tipp laid down a major marker against Cork in the 2011 minor series

Cork's Dan MacEoin looking for a way past Tipperary's Steven O'Brien in the Munster minor football final in Killarney. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A third of the Tipperary side, which clinched a first Munster senior football title since 1935 last weekend, featured prominently in the breakthrough minor season in 2011.

Guided by current manager David Power, who was only 28 at the time, Tipp were crowned Munster and All-Ireland champions after a quite remarkable campaign.

Colin O’Riordan was just 16 when making the right half-back position his own and he was surrounded by other heroes from Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Sunday.

Steven O’Brien was a colossus that year at midfield with Bill Maher in the half-forward line dropping deep to eventually become an outstanding wing-back.

Michael Quinlivan served notice of what he could offer any side from full-forward while Colman Kennedy, right corner-forward against Cork, was regularly used as impact substitute with devastating results.

Cork, who were managed by future senior boss Brian Cuthbert had no link between the 2011 minors and Sunday’s team.

Alan Cadogan and battles with Oisin Vaughan, Clare, in the 2011 minor clash. Picture: Jim Coughlan
Alan Cadogan and battles with Oisin Vaughan, Clare, in the 2011 minor clash. Picture: Jim Coughlan

Millstreet’s Kevin Crowley played at right half-back that season and was with Ronan McCarthy’s squad this term only for injury to rule him out of contention. 

Stephen Cronin, Brian O'Driscoll, Cathal Vaughan, Seán Kiely and Conor Dorman all featured for Cork at senior level in recent years, though are no longer involved, while Alan Cadogan prioritised hurling when he came out of U21, though did have a brief spell and a run out at Croke Park against Donegal, in the summer of 2016.

Tipp first served notice the 2011 campaign would deviate significantly from the norm by storming back from an 11-point deficit against Kerry in the semi-final to win by one, 2-12 to 3-8.

It was the perfect birthday gift for Power, whose side clinched victory in the sixth minute of injury-time, courtesy of a Liam McGrath point after Quinlivan and Kennedy bagged crucial goals.

Cork managed to be on level terms at 1-7 apiece in the final in Killarney, but Tipp dominated the second half to run out convincing 3-11 to 1-9 winners and claim a first title since 1995, a team with Declan Browne in its ranks.

Dejected Cork players and management. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Dejected Cork players and management. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“You wouldn’t believe the huge effort this has taken,” a beaming Power said afterwards.

“With the Leaving Cert and six dual players it has been tough, but we won U15, U16 and U17 Munster titles last season, so this was coming,” he added.

Despite the defeat, Cork still entered the All-Ireland series at the quarter-final stage only to come up against the favourites Dublin, who had a star-studded side, managed by Dessie Farrell, the present senior incumbent.

The Dubs won by 1-11 to 1-3 on the same afternoon in Portlaoise that Tipp edged Leinster runners-up Meath by 0-11 to 0-7.

Both semi-finals were tight with Tipp and Dublin posting the same 1-11 to win by two points against Roscommon and Galway respectively.

Dublin were warm favourites going into the final and there was little in the game’s trend to indicate that the title wouldn’t rest in the capital.

Ciaran Kilkenny was their leading forward and ended the year as the country’s top scorer with 0-39 while the likes of Jack McCaffrey, John Small, Cormac Costelloe, Eric Lowndes and Paul Mannion were other notables.

But, Dublin reckoned without Tipp’s never-say-die attitude and few could believe the drama which unfolded in the closing minutes.

Dylan Fitzelle, Tipperary, is tackled by Ciaran Kilkenny in 2011. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE
Dylan Fitzelle, Tipperary, is tackled by Ciaran Kilkenny in 2011. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

Even though the Dubs held a narrow two-point lead with five minutes remaining there appeared little prospect of another Tipp Houdini act until their bench worked the Oracle once more.

Philip Quirke made it a one-point with a booming score before Kennedy ignored a handy point to level matters and instead fired in a goal with a rocket-like shot.

And while Kilkenny converted a free Dublin missed other chances to restore parity and Tipp held on for a remarkable 3-9 to 1-14 success, their first All-Ireland title since 1934.

Quinlivan increased his goal tally to five for the season with a penalty.

The big question now is will Power and Farrell lock horns again next month?

TIPPERARY: G Slattery; N Sullivan, C O’Sullivan, A McGuire; C O’Riordan, D Fitzell, S Kennedy; S O’Brien, I Fahey; B Maher, P Quirke, G Henry; L McGrath, M Quinlivan, TJ Ryan.

Subs: J Meagher for McGuire, C Kennedy for Ryan, J Lonergan for Henry, D Lonergan for Quinlivan, D Butler for Maher.

CORK: J McDonnell; J Davis, K Fulignati, S Cronin; K Crowley, B O’Driscoll, T Brosnan; S Kiely, S O’Mahony; C Vaughan, M Sugrue, D Murphy; D MacEoin, C O’Sullivan, A Cadogan.

Subs: C Dorman for Crowley, D Harrington for Cadogan, K Kavanagh for Dorman, K McIntyre for Brosnan, J Corkery for O’Sullivan.

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