A Michael Cahalane goal in the 68th minute proved the difference as Cork claimed their first Munster win since 2014 with a thrilling win over Tipperary in front of a 30,013 crowd in Thurles, writes John Fogarty.
Against the odds, the All-Ireland champions lost their provincial crown as the visitors gave an exhibition of scoring in a game that was squared on 16 occasions before a Conor Lehane 65 put Cork one up in the 67th minute and substitute Cahalane worked his magic, stealing behind the Tipperary cover to beat Darren Gleeson. Dan McCormack and the excellent Michael Breen added points but Cork saw off the affair with scores from Luke O’Farrell and Seamus Harnedy to set up a semi-final against Waterford on June 11.
In one of the great Munster games, Cork went ahead early in the second half and went four clear when Shane Kingston finished to the net after initially being hooked by Ronan Maher. They stayed in front until the 56th minute when their two-point lead disappeared when John McGrath finished clinically after a gem of a pass from Seamus Callanan.
A peach of a first half finished all square having been level on 12 occasions. Cork were 0-2 to 0-0 up after three minutes and Tipperary too enjoyed a two-point lead in the 20th minute when John O’Dwyer sent over a sideline having used a deft sleight of hand to set up Michael Breen. But that’s as far as the two sides were from one another.
Luke Meade, who looked at ease in his senior championship debut with three first-half points, cut Cork’s deficit in half but then John McGrath looked to be impeded having reacted to O’Dwyer hitting the post. Cork made plenty of the let-off when Kingston levelled matters and while Michael Breen, along with Meade a star of the opening period, put Tipp ahead once more Meade and Seamus Harnedy returned fire.
Having had James Barry and John O’Keeffe yellow carded early on, Tipperary were fortunate not to have the other third of their full-back line noted when Cathal Barrett brought down Alan Cadogan, a foul which Conor Lehane punished with his third free. Shane Kingston followed that up with his second point of the game to push Cork ahead although O’Dwyer and Pádraic Maher hit back.
Tipperary, who had two early goal chances which became points, could have found the net again the 35th minute but for Anthony Nash making a fine save from Seamus Callanan. The ball moved quickly up the field only for Seamus Harnedy’s shot to hit the side netting and so the sides fittingly couldn’t be separated at the interval.
Scorers for Tipperary: S. Callanan (4 frees); M. Breen (0-6 each); J. McGrath (1-2); D. McCormack (0-3); John O’Dwyer (1 sideline), N. McGrath, B. Maher (0-2 each); S. Curran, Pádraic Maher, N. O’Meara (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cork: C. Lehane (0-10, 4 frees, 1 65); S. Kingston (1-4); P. Horgan (0-4); M. Cahalane (1-0); L. Meade, A. Cadogan (0-3 each); S. Harnedy (0-2); L. O’Farrell (0-1).
TIPPERARY: D. Gleeson; J. O’Keeffe, J. Barry, C. Barrett; S. Kennedy, R. Maher, Pádraic Maher (c); B. Maher, S. Curran; D. McCormack, M. Breen, N. McGrath; John O’Dwyer, S. Callanan, J. McGrath.
Subs for Tipperary: N. O’Meara for S. Curran (51); Joe O’Dwyer for S. Kennedy (58); A. Flynn for C. Barrett (inj 64).
Cork: A. Nash (c); C. Spillane, D. Cahalane, S. McDonnell; C. Joyce, M. Ellis, M. Coleman; B. Cooper, D. Fitzgibbon; L. Meade, C. Lehane, S. Kingston; P. Horgan, S. Harnedy, A. Cadogan.
Subs for Cork: L. O’Farrell for A. Cadogan (58); M. Cahalane for L. Meade (66); L. McLoughlin for D. Fitzgibbon (70+1).
Referee: J. Owens (Wexford).