ACE marksman, Luke Connolly, signalled Cork’s 1-4 without reply approaching the interval of their victory over Tipp on Saturday night as the game-defining period.
The Nemo Rangers sharp-shooter continued where he left off with his club by contributing 0-10 to Cork’s 1-17. Colm O’Neill buried the only goal either side of a couple of Connolly points, one from Mark Collins and a fourth from Connolly, once more.
“The goal kicked us on and it came at a great time for us, five minutes before half-time. We got a few more points as well and I think that killed Tipp to be honest.
“We had started slowly enough, kicking three wides and three more into the goalie’s hands, which is unforgiveable for a forward, but this win is a massive boost for our confidence,” he said.
Cork await the outcome of the other semi-final between Kerry and Clare on Sunday.
“We have no fear going into a Munster final. It could be Kerry. It could also be Clare, because I wouldn’t write them off. Just look at their league campaign.
“Hopefully, it will be in Pairc Ui Chaoimh because that’s where all Cork footballers want to be.”
Connolly didn’t hang about in the aftermath of Nemo’s disappointing All-Ireland club final defeat by Galway’s Corofin, though his return to Cork didn’t go according to plan.
“I went straight back training with Cork after the club final, but only lasted a couple of days.
“My body went into complete overload after 13 months on the go the previous season, so I took two weeks off. My body needed a rest, so I had to listen to that.”
And Connolly’s excited about what he has savoured to-date. “It’s fresh. It’s vibrant. There’s a great buzz there.
“You just cannot not play with this group of lads, because there’s a good atmosphere there and it was a joy to come back into it.
“It was easy to mix back in after the club final. It’s good footballers mixing with good footballers.
“You saw for yourself in the first-half there, we played some great football, which is what Cork should be doing, keeping it simple.
“In the last few years we’ve been a bit up and down, but this is what we are capable of doing.
“It was great to be back playing with Cork and get that winning feeling back as well.
“It’s an honour again to wear the Cork jersey and I’m delighted for everyone, especially after such a mixed league campaign.
“But, it’s championship what you are judged on so it was great to get such a good start.
“It’s never easy coming to Thurles to play a Tipp team that is no joke. It was a great win,” Connolly concluded.