In front of an attendance of some 7,895, Tipperary made an extraordinary comeback in Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday to finish top of Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League, having squandered perhaps numerous possible opportunities in the opening half.
Cork were leading by 0-15 (15 pts) to 0-13 (13 pts) after a rather frenzied first half yesterday, thanks to six accurate frees from Patrick Horgan.
In a breathless, heart pounding second half, Cork would now increase their lead by a further 12 points at one stage, thanks to four goals courtesy of Patrick Horgan, Paudie O’Sullivan and Conor Lehane. Despite two answering points from Tipp, Cork’s Lehane was to get the first goal, before Horgan’s first goal placed the side ahead by seven; the scoreboard reading Cork 2-16 (22 pts) to Tipperary 0-15 (15 pts).
Further points from both Tipp and Cork were to follow before Hogan would strike yet again with his second goal, leaving Cork visibly safe with a healthy 12 point lead over the Premier county – Cork 4-19 (31 pts) to Tipperary 0-19 (19 pts).
However Cork had not bargained for the sheer belief and spirited attitude of, in particular, Tipperary’s Woodlock, Bergin, Callanan, McGrath and late substitute Kenny.
On the 54th minute Kieran Bergin scored a goal which was to set in motion Tipperary’s remarkable recovery, while Seamus Callanan scored that important free to sever Cork’s lead to just 8 pts in front – Cork 4-21 (33 pts) to Tipperary 1-22 (25 pts).
Noel McGrath then further narrowed this gap to just one single point, before Conor Kenny hit over the equalising point on the 68th minute – Cork 4-21 (33 pts) to Tipperary 2-27 (33 pts), – and then came that 35 metre distance point from once again Noel McGrath, to finally clinch Tipperary’s hard fought victory.
Final Score: Round 5 Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Final Score: Tipperary 2-28 (34 pts) – Cork (33 pts).
Tipperary Scorers: S. Callanan 0-10 (10 pts), N. McGrath 0-7 (7 pts), J. Forde 1-4 (7 pts), N. O’Meara 0-3 (3 pts), K. Bergin 1-0 (3 pts) and T. Stapleton, J. O’Dwyer, C. Kenny, R. Maher 0-1 (1 pt) each.
Tipperary Team: D. Egan, P. Stapleton, C. O’Mahony, C. O’Brien; K. Bergin, P. Maher, R. Maher; S. McGrath, T. Stapleton, N. McGrath, B. Maher, J. Forde, J O’Dwyer, S. Callanan and N. O’Meara.
Substitutes: P. Maher for B. Maher (1st half blood sub.), P. Maher for B. Maher, M. Breen for S. McGrath, S. Bourke for O’Dwyer, J. Woodlock for T. Stapleton and C. Kenny for N. O’Meara.
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath).
Division 1A Quarter Finals will be played next weekend (28th/29th March).
Tipperary v Offaly (Toss for home venue) – Cork v Wexford (Toss for home venue) – Dublin v Limerick (Toss for home venue) – Galway v Waterford (Waterford venue).