Tipperary 0-19 Cork 0-18
Tipperary claimed their first silverware of the year at Semple Stadium on Friday night last as they clung on for a slender one point victory over Cork in the Munster intermediate hurling final played before an attendance of 1756.
The win gave Tipperary their ninth title in the grade and their first ever back-to-back successes. The victory sets Tipperary up for the defence of the All-Ireland crown won last year, but it will take a better showing than this to retain the national title.
However, Tipperary showed great character in the hectic closing stages when coming from behind to hit the front by three points with five minutes to play, only to see that lead cut to the minimum. It took all their commitment and perseverance to survive a determined Cork onslaught in a nail-biting finish, but survive it they did, as Tipp recorded their second Munster win over Cork in three days.
In a free-ridden encounter that could have gone either way, Tipperary had goalkeeper Darragh Egan to thank for their ninth title and their first back-to-back successes as the Kildangan man pointed three frees from inside his own half, and crowned his night with two top-drawer saves, the second, in injury time, denying Cork what would have been a match-winning goal.
Tipperary made most of the running but Cork, with the very accurate Peter O Brien on song, stayed on their heels all the way. Indeed, when Cork nudged ahead by a point with ten minutes to play, a victory to give Cork their fourteenth title, looked on the cards.
A number of Tipperary substitutions freshened up the side who hit four unanswered points in four minutes but Cork were not giving up. O Brien twice pointed for them and in injury time, sub Michael O Sullivan’s rasper for a goal was stopped by Egan, and a couple of Cork attackers fluffed the opportunity to finish off the rebound before Tipperary scrambled the ball clear.
Though Cork had the aid of the light breeze, Tipperary opened well with Orrie Quirke twice pointing inside three minutes. Colm Casey had a Cork point and Daragh Egan showed his class with a point-blank stop off Casey’s shot in the 4th minute. O Brien levelled almost immediately to establish the pattern that was to prevail all through.
Cork goalie Martin Coleman, a former senior, was subjecting Tipperary to great pressure with the length of his puck-outs, and with the Tipp backs also conceding frees too readily, six of Cork’s ten first half scores came from placed balls, one by Coleman from well inside his own half in the 18th minute.
Tipp free-taker Timmy Hammersely had a few off-target from difficult angles as the sides reached the break level, 0-10 each. Two minutes before the break, Joey McLoughney almost had a Tipp goal when he moved on to a break but Cork goalie Coleman got his stick to the shot to turn it away.
The ball was definitely in Tipperary’s court with the breeze to aid them in the second half and when they fired over four points without replay through Timmy Hammersley (free), Danny O Hanlon, and two mighty frees from inside his own half by Darragh Egan, a comfortable Tipperary win was in prospect.
No so however. Egan saved an O Brien shot and Casey whipped over a Cork point, Two O Brien frees had them only one adrift by the 40th minute. TimmyHammersely eased Tipp’s growing anxiety with a pointed free but then Peter Obrien put Cork in front by the 50th minute with three pointed frees without reply.
Once more Tipperary responded, Ruairi Gleeson, Darragh Egan(free), sub Pat Shortt and Joey McLoughney reeled off four points in as many minutes to put Tipp three clear with five minutes to play.
Safely home? Not so again. O Brien twice pointed for Cork to leave them only one behind as injury time beckoned. Cork threw everything into attack. Sub O Sullivan had the chance to level the game but opted for a goal. Egan saved, two or three Cork players had the chance to finish the job, but somehow Tipp survived and scrambled the ball to safety to secure their ninth Munster title in the grade.
Darragh Egan was star of the show for Tipperary inspiring confidence in those in front of him. Miceal Butler was very sound at fullback with Willie Ryan and David Young also to the fore. Joey McLoughney finished very strongly at midfield while in attack Danny O Hanlon, Ruairi Gleeson and Orrie Quirke contributed valuable scores, as did Timmy Hammersley despite a few lapses.
Tipperary – D Egan(0-3, 3fs); S O Brien, M Butler, T Treacy; W Ryan, D Young, P Heffernan; J McLoughney(0-2,1f), S McCormack; O Quirke(0-2), T Hammersley(0-6, 5fs), D O Hanlon(0-2); R Gleeson(0-2), T Butler(0-1), P Greene; Subs- P Shortt(0-1) for Greene; P Molloy for O Hanlon; P O Leary for T Butler, B Fox for Quirke.
Cork – M Coleman(0-1,1f); J O Callaghan, E Dillon, M Walsh; M Ellis, R Cashman, T Healy; J Cronin, S McCarthy; B Lawton(0-2), P O Brien(0-12, 10fs), R O Shea; C Casey(0-2), J Wall, M Kennefick(0-1) Subs- Barry Lawton for Wall; M O Sullivan for O Shea; A Watson for McCarthy; B Cooper for Casey.
Referee: D Fox (Clare).