Tipperary 0-21 Cork 3-13
RONAN McCarthy's Cork footballers made it four wins from four attempts in Allianz League Division 3 on Saturday night, but only after a ferocious battle with Tipperary in Thurles.
Tipp sprinted off into an early lead, the difference between the teams in that opening spell being that the home side took their chances and the visitors didn't. It was that simple. Tipp had five points and no wides on the board within ten minutes. Cork just had five wides.
Some of Tipperary's scores in that first quarter were sublime, the pick of them being a Riain Quigley point which started with a composed clearance under pressure at the other end and involved some pristine passing and execution through the lines.
Cork finally found their feet with half-backs Mattie Taylor and Cian Kiely romping through to claim their first two points and they reduced the deficit to just a point after 22 minutes when Ruairí Deane found acres of space and the time to turn and fire low to the net for their first goal.
A Cathail O'Mahony free shortly after and the sides were level at 0-7 to 1-4.
Tipp brushed it off quickly enough. Another unanswered five-point push, their second of the game, followed before Cork pulled two scores back just before the interval. In the circumstances, a three-point deficit wasn't all that bad for the Rebels.
It got better again after the break as Tipp were reeled in.
Two goals from Luke Connolly, the first a penalty after Mattie Taylor was dragged down by Quigley and the second a lovely low finish from play to the bottom corner, propelled Cork through a half that they came to boss as it went on.
Connolly was a huge thorn in Tipperary's side in the second period. So too was O'Mahony who claimed a hat-trick of points from play after the break before being replaced with 13 minutes to play and Cork beginning to extend the lead.
Tipp were four back entering the last ten minutes but they hadn't scored a goal so far in the league and, one goalmouth scramble aside, they never looked like changing that sad stat, even when Sheehan was shown the line for Cork for a black card offence.
Cork looked ragged in that last period. They didn't score for the last 15 minutes of play and how Deane for one wasn't sent to the line after him was a mystery as the leaders held on desperately to that advantage.
Three frees, two from Conor Sweeney and one from Jack Kennedy, took Tipp to within the slimmest of margins before the clock brought it all to an end. It was tough on Tipp who now have just three points from their four games.
Cork go away with the win and eight league points in the bag and knowing they can play better. A nice place to be in more ways than one.
Scorers for Tipperary: C Sweeney (0-5, 0-4 frees); R Quigley (0-4); J Kennedy (0-4 frees); S O'Brien and E Moloney (both 0-2); E Comerford (0-1 '45'); S O'Connor (0-1 free); Colman Kennedy and B Fox (both 0-1).
Cork: L Connolly (2-2, 1-0 pen, 0-1 free, 0-1 mark); R Deane (1-0); C O'Mahony (0-5, 0-2 frees); J O'Rourke (0-2); S Powter, M Taylor, C Sheehan and C Kiely (all 0-1);
TIPPERARY: E Comerford; A Campbell, J Meagher, T Fitzgerald; K Fahey, R Kiely, B Maher; S O'Brien, Colman Kennedy; E Moloney, J Kennedy, B Fox; R Quigley, C Sweeney, S O'Connor.
Subs: L Fahey for K Fahey (47); J Lonergan for O'Connor and K O'Halloran for Quigley (both 58); J Niland for Moloney (66).
CORK: M Martin; S Powter, J Loughrey, P Ring; T Clancy, M Taylor, C Kiely; I Maguire, K O'Hanlon; J O'Rourke, S White, B Hartnett; R Deane, L Connolly, C O'Mahony.
Subs: C Sheehan for White (45); L O'Donovan for Kiely (50); C O'Callaghan for O'Mahony (57); P Walsh for Powter (61); E O'Driscoll for O'Hanlon (66).
Referee: P Murphy (Carlow).