Cork 3-15 Tipperary 0-14
THE Mediterranean style weather has only deepened our thirst for the return of live sport.
By rights, Cork hurling fans, or rather those fortunate to have got tickets, would be gearing up for the Munster championship joust with Waterford at a reduced capacity Walsh Park tomorrow.
Almost a decade ago to the day, the weather was just as inviting as great rivals Cork and Tipperary awaited round 1 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, where an attendance of 36,827 was clocked.
There were major question marks over a Cork team, which ran out of legs in the league final defeat by Galway, and the smart money was on a Tipp victory, expected to be by a narrow margin.
Yet, it was all done and dusted by the hour mark after the game’s most influential performer, full-forward Aisake Ó Ó hAilpín, struck a well-deserved goal, Cork’s third and Tipp fans were seen heading for the exits.
One of the most remarkable aspects of a totally unpredicted one-sided encounter was Cork’s dominance all over the pitch.
Keeper Donal Og Cusack was like a class darts player with his puck-outs, hitting his target all the time, whether going short or long, it didn’t matter.
In front of him the three wise men of the half-back line, John Gardiner, Ronan Curran and Aisake’s older brother, Seán Óg, dictated matters on their terms.
Behind them, Shane O’Neill, Eoin Cadogan and Brian Murphy generally had the measure of the threatening Tipp inside line and the ball flowed regularly to the Cork attack with impressive speed and precision.
It may be been route one and a quite obvious approach, but the way in which Aisake tortured Tipp full-back Pádraic Maher early on more than justified Denis Walsh’s tactics.
After just 13 minutes, Maher fouled Aisake and picked up a yellow card just before Patrick Horgan buried the penalty in the back of the net.
Act two followed 10 minutes later. Aisake made another brilliant catch, this time on Paul Curran, and fed Horgan for his second goal.
Na Piarsaigh and the Glen were in tandem and Cork in full cry, leading by 2-5 to 0-9 at half-time.
The second-half suggested it would go to the wire, especially after Eoin Kelly made it a one-point, but Cork were having none of it.
The critical period was the five minutes between 40 and 45, when the home side knocked over five unanswered points with Tipp struggling to contain them.
The visitors’ problems, though, were wrapped up in the simple statistic that only substitute Timmy Hammersley supplied their lone point from play in the second half.
The biggest cheer of the afternoon was reserved for Aiske and his richly deserved goal.
Scorers for Cork: P Horgan 2-2 (1-0 pen), B O’Connor 0-5 (0-3 f), A Ó hAilpín 1-1, C Naughton and N McCarthy 0-2 each, J Gardiner 0-2 (0-1 f, 0-1 65), P O’Sullivan 0-1.
Tipperary: E Kelly 0-7 (0-5 f, 0-2 65), L Corbett and J O’Brien 0-2 each, S Callanan, B Maher and T Hammersley 0-1 each.
CORK: D Óg Cusack; S O’Neill, E Cadogan, B Murphy; J Gardiner, R Curran, S Óg Ó hAilpín; T Kenny, C Naughton; B O’Connor, J O’Connor, N McCarthy; K Murphy, A Ó hAilpín, P Horgan.
Subs: M Cussen for McCarthy, P O’Sullivan for Horgan and L McLoughlin for Kenny.
TIPPERARY: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Maher, P Curran; D Fanning, C O’Mahony, M Cahill; B Maher, S McGrath; N McGrath, S Callanan, J O’Brien; E Kelly, B O’Meara, L Corbett.
Subs: S Hennessy for O’Meara, G Ryan for O’Mahony, T Hammersley for N McGrath, J Brennan for J O’Brien, C O’Brien for S McGrath.
Referee: B Kelly (Westmeath)