Analysis: Tough tackling and hard work are key for Cork hurlers in the Páirc

Analysis: Tough tackling and hard work are key for Cork hurlers in the Páirc
Tipperary's Sean O'Brien concedes a penalty by fouling Cork's Robbie O'Flynn. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

CORK prevailed over their greatest rivals in a pulsating clash at floodlit Páirc Uí Chaoimh to secure a much-needed league win.

The Rebels couldn't build on two early goals in defeat to Waterford six days earlier but on this occasion first-half strikes from Robbie O'Flynn, whose pace caused problems throughout, and Patrick Horgan from a penalty after O'Flynn was hauled down, were key.

Pa Collins pulled off a series of smart saves in the second half, which ran to the 82nd minute after a delay for an injury to Bubble O'Dwyer, where a Brian Hogan penalty gave Tipp a late lifeline in the closing stages. 

Robert Downey was impressive in his new role at full-back, while Darragh Fitzgibbon and Mark Coleman, introduced to replace Aidan Walsh and Tim O'Mahony after they picked up knocks, excelled. Fitzgibbon, Coleman, Seamus Harnedy and Horgan slipped over some sizzling second-half scores and overall Cork did enough to deserve their win.

Colm Spillane got a welcome match under his belt on his return from injury, while Alan Cadogan torched Tipp at times, hitting four from play with 1-2 in assists. 

The work-rate from Harnedy and Horgan set the tone, a response to ongoing criticism about the flakiness of the Cork forwards, while Bill Cooper was his usual abrasive self in the middle third and deputising at centre-back following O'Mahony's withdrawal. 

Horgan was the RTE Man of the Match but Cooper, Fitzgibbon, Cadogan and Downey were strong contenders too.

Cork now have a break until a trip to Westmeath in two weeks, with games against Limerick and Galway to follow.

For Kieran Kingston and his management, they'll hold this performance up as a prime example of what the team is capable of when they tackle from the front back. There was also a concerted effort to supply diagonal ball up top, while five goals in two games is another encouraging sign.

Shane Kingston was rested due to his UCC commitments but looked lively when he came on for Luke Meade, who put in a major shift. However, the other attacking sub Conor Lehane was a bit short of confidence on the sliotar despite buzzing around with intent.

Deccie Dalton was given a start at full-forward in the wake of his colossal efforts for Fr O'Neill's and Imokilly last season but didn't get a decent supply.

It is of course, 'only the league', and inconsistency has dogged Cork hurling for some time now.

Cork knuckled down after the concession of the penalty and showed a bit of cuteness deep into injury time when Harnedy contested a sideline that was clearly Tipp's and Kingston and selector Diarmuid O'Sullivan were up in arms over an incident involving Cadogan. By the time the dust was settled, the final whistle sounded.

Scorers for Cork: P Horgan (0-8 f) 1-9, R. O’Flynn 1-3, A Cadogan 0-4, D Fitzgibbon, S Harnedy 0-2 each, A Walsh, L Meade, D Cahalane, M Coleman 0-1 each. 

Tipperary: J Forde (0-3 f), M Kehoe, J McGrath 0-4 each, B Hogan 1-0 pen, P Maher 0-3, C Darcy, P Cadell, J Morris 0-2 each, A Flynn, J Cahill, R Maher (f), N O’Meara 0-1 each.

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