Tipperary claimed an impressive 2-22 to 0-23 win over Cork in Thurles on Sunday afternoon. Both teams played well in spells, but goals from Lar Corbett, Eoin Kelly and Benny Dunne proved to be decisive for Tipperary.
Cork began the game with urgency and bossed the opening minutes. The Rebels created two goal opportunities, but could not take advantage of their early superiority. Cummins made a good save for Tipperary in the first minute, while Horgan fired just wide for Cork four minutes later.
The sides exchanged points for much of the opening half hour, with both sides scoring some skilful points and the score being level four times. The game turned, however, in the 27th minute. Patrick Maher was fouled as he ran in on the Cork goal, but the Tipperary man kept going and passed to Corbett, who finished with aplomb.
A match that had been pedestrian suddenly burst into life. Eoin Kelly scored his fourth point of the afternoon before scoring a sensational goal. The Tipperary forward weaved his way through three Cork defenders and buried the sliotar in the corner of the goal.
Noel McGrath added a point in the 34th minute, which meant Tipperary had opened up an eight point lead in the space of seven minutes.
Cork scored three quick fire points to reduce the deficit, but Noel McGrath hit a beautiful sideline ball over the bar and Kelly also scored to leave Tipperary with a 2-11 to 0-10 lead at the break.
Cork had made a better start, but Tipperary, with the benefit of the breeze, deserved their lead.
The sides again exchanged points at the start of the second half to leave Tipperary with a 2-15 to 0-14 lead. Cork then produced some scintillating hurling to reel off seven points without reply to equalise. Eoin Caddigan also made a great block to stop a Tipperary goal chance.
Cork had asked serious questions of the All Ireland champions, but Tipperary responded with gusto. Three of Tipperary’s most experienced and talented hurlers, Lar Corbett, Eoin Kelly and Noel McGrath, scored points in an important three minute period around the hour.
Tipperary’s discipline remained questionable and Cork added their ninth point from frees in the 63rd minute. It proved to be just a glimmer of hope for Cork, however, as Benny Dunne finished the contest in the 66th minute with Tipperary’s third goal. Some slack defending lead to Dunne receiving the ball to the left of Cork’s goal. The Tipperary forward hit a hard shot past Cusack, who stood no chance of saving it in the Cork goal.
Pat Horgan was terrific for Cork and he scored his 13th point of the day in the 67th minute. Tipperary would not be denied, however. McGrath scored again from a sideline ball and Seamus Callanan scores two late points to give Tipperary an eight point victory.
Tipperary will now face Clare in the Munster semi final and will expect to beat the Division 2 side. Cork will enter the backdoor system and will have their work cut out to claim the Liam McCarthy cup this year.