Liam McGrath who scored a superb 2-5 for Tipperary against Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the National League Division 2 opener on Saturday night.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 2
CORK 1-16 :: 3-16 TIPPERARY
Tipperary footballers enjoyed a dream start to this year’s National League campaign with a six points victory over Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh this evening.
On an historic night for sport in which a Cork senior team in either code was making their debut appearance at the revamped stadium, Liam Kearns’ side rained down on the parade with a superb second half performance for a stunning win for Tipperary
In that second period they outscored the hosts by 3-8 to 1-7, which three excellent goals from Liam McGrath (2) and Michael Quinlivan for a victory that sends the statisticians searching for exactly when the Premier County last defeated ‘The Rebels’ in the national league, but it is certainly well back into the last century.
Two years ago in Thurles, Tipperary defeated Cork in the Munster championship for the first time in 72 years, and while tonight’s win is not quite at the same pitch in terms of significance, nonetheless it was magnificent to achieve and continues the progress of Tipperary football on the national scene.
Tipperary got off to a great start and raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after eight minutes with the benefit of a strong breeze into the Blackrock end with points from Steven O’Brien (11 seconds), Liam McGrath, Michael Quinlivan (45) and Jack Kennedy.
But the early positivity waned and Cork took control around midfield with Daniel O’Callaghan and Ian Maguire in particular getting clearly on top as Tipp struggled badly with Evan Comerford’s kick-outs.
Six unanswered Cork points put them ahead by three before a Liam McGrath free ended a 13 minute scoreless spell for Tipperary, the free won by the hard work of Brian Fox.
The Rebels were still three to the good as half-time approached but late scores by Jack Kennedy (free) and a fine point by Liam Boland had the gap back to the minimum. But the excitement wasn’t quite finished yet as in time added-on Cork’s Sean Powter was taken down by Robbie Kiely to present Cork with a penalty chance to wrap up the half. However, a very poorly struck shot by Sean Sherlock was saved by Evan Comerford and Tipp escaped to the dressingrooms relieved.
Evan Comerford who made an important penalty save just before half-time against Cork.
There was no sanctuary for the Tipp players under the stands though and in an extended half-time break manager Liam Kearns let his charges know of his dissatisfaction with their first half performance and demanded a much improved second period.
When the game resumed it was Cork who had the better start and scored two points inside two minutes to stretch their advantage to three as thing began to look ominous for Tipperary. Indeed a superb goalline intervention by Steven O’Brien denied Cork a goal after they had carved through the Tipp rearguard.
A fisted Liam McGrath point four minutes after the break was quickly cancelled by Cork before Tipp hit the proverbial purple patch to score 2-3 unanswered in a 10 minute spell.
Firstly a sweet passing movement presented Conor Sweeney with a goal chance but his effort thundered off the crossbar when it seemed the Ballyporeen man had to score. The rebounded ball was retained by Tipp though before Michael Quinlivan threaded a short pass through to Liam McGrath who finished superbly on his left as Tipp hit the front, 1-10 to 0-12, in the 42nd minute.
Two quick points from Conor Sweeney and Brian Fox extended the lead to three before Tipp had their second goal. Josh Keane started the move with a timely interception of a Cork attack and the ball ended up with Michael Quinlivan who finished like an All-Star over the despairing dive of Mark White.
Michael Quinlivan who scored a superb second half goal for Tipp against Cork.
Conor Sweeney then added another rapid point to put Tipp a magnificent seven ahead at the half-way stage of the second period.
Cork substitute Colm O’Neill, on the field only six minutes, hit back when he finished for a rousing goal after another incisive movement through the middle.
And the Leesiders had a glorious chance of a second goal a few minutes later when Colm O’Neill put a ball across the goalmouth for John O’Rourke to touch home, but agonisingly for the Carbery Rangers man his effort shaved off the upright to let Tipp off the hook yet again.
The hugely influential O’Neill added a point, followed by a Stephen Sherlock free and suddenly it was back to a two points game at 2-13 to 1-14 with 12 minutes to go.
In the first half Tipp went 13 minutes without a score, and they did more or less the same thing in the second period, once more a Liam McGrath free ending a scoreless spell of 14 minutes five minutes from time. The foul was drawn after a typical bursting run by Bill Maher.
The game’s clinching score came from the same Liam McGrath two minutes later when he finished superbly to the top corner for his second goal in a 2-5 tally on the night for the All-Ireland winning minor captain of 2011.
Thereafter the sides swopped a pair of points each but Tipp were not going to be denied an historic win and a huge start to the campaign.
So all in all a great start to a tough seven-game campaign with “the real favourites” Roscommon, according to Liam Kearns, next up next Sunday in Thurles.
For Tipp there were many positives on the night with Liam McGrath and Michael Quinlivan superb in attack and others to put in good performances were Shane O'Connell, Emmet Moloney and Bill Maher in defence, and Steven O’Brien, Jack Kennedy, Josh Keane and Brian Fox throughout the field. Half-time substitute Liam Casey and later John Meagher also contributed well.
Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
Shane O’Connell (Golden-Kilfeacle)
Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers)
Emmet Moloney (Drom & Inch)
Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule)
Robbie Kiely (Carbery Rangers, Cork , captain)
Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
Steven O’Brien (Ballina)
Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)
Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials)
Josh Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle)
Brian Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty Donohill)
Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers)
Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen)
Liam McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
Liam Casey (Cahir) for Boland (half-time)
John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Feehan (43)
Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials) for Kiely (62)
Brendan Martin (Kilsheelan-Kilcash) for McGrath (70)
Colm O’Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan) for O’Connell (inj) (70)
George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers) for O’Brien (73).
Scorers for Tipperary: Liam McGrath 2-5 (0-2f), Michael Quinlivan 1-2, Jack Kennedy 0-3 (0-2f), Conor Sweeney 0-3 (0-1f), Steven O’Brien, Liam Boland, Brian Fox 0-1 each
Colm O’Neill for Powter (inj) (48)
Cillian O’Hanlon for O’Callaghan (50)
Michael Hurley for O’Rourke (53)
Tomas Clancy for O’Driscoll (57)
Kevin O’Driscoll for Sean White (65)
Conor Dorman for Maguire (66).
Scorers for Cork: Stephen Sherlock 0-5 (0-3f), Mark Collins 0-5 (0-1f), Colm O’Neill 1-1, Sean White 0-2, Sean Powter, Ruairi Deane, John O’Rourke 0-1 each.
Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry)