A Bloody Great Sunday for Tipperary Football
Munster Senior Football Final
By Shane Brophy
Tipperary marked the centenary of Bloody Sunday in fitting fashion by winning their first Munster Senior Football title in 85 years with a thoroughly deserved victory over Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
The Premier County were hanging on at the finish but shrill of Maurice Deegan’s whistle at 75.51 minutes generated scenes of unbridled joy among the Tipperary players and mentors following this epic victory in a game where they were on the front foot from the off with captain Conor Sweeney claiming a mark and pointing inside 22 seconds.
Sweeney quickly added a second from play before Michael Quinlivan also found the target with Tipp three to the good inside as many minutes.
Luke Connolly got Cork up and running a minute later and he and Mark Collins converted frees to have the home side level after ten minutes.
Tipp were playing second fiddle in terms of possession but a foul on Robbie Kiely led to a relieving Sweeney free. Luke Connolly converted a 45 and a free as Cork led 0-5 to 0-4 after sixteen minutes for what proved to be their only lead of the match, which was erased by a third Sweeney point from play by the first water-break.
Liam Casey and Colm O’Callaghan traded points before Tipperary made the key burst in the run-up to half time when they outscored Cork 0-5 to 0-1, which included two superb points from Michael Quinlivan while he and Sweeney also converted frees with Kevin Fahey also getting in on the scoring act. John O’Rourke was the Cork scorer in that time as Tipp led 0-11 to 0-7 at half time.
Again, Tipperary pointed within seconds of the restart with Sweeney claiming a mark and converting and they were unfortunate not to goal in the 37th minute when Steven O’Brien’s fisted effort struck the crossbar with Michael Quinlivan fisting the rebound to the net but was ruled out by the referee.
Tipp became a little rattled after that with Mark Collins and Brian Hurley reducing the margin to three as Tipp couldn’t get their hands on the ball. However, Cork were toothless in attack against a well drilled defence.
The game went eleven minutes without a score by the Liam Casey kicked a much-needed point just after the second water break, and from a subsequent poor kickout, Conor Sweeney put Tipp back into a five-point lead.
However, back came Cork with two more frees from Collins as Tipp began to struggle at midfield with sub Cathail O’Mahony reducing the margin to two in the 63rd minute. Colin O’Riordan won a badly needed kickout subsequently and won a free which was moved forward for dissent and allowed goalkeeper Evan Comerford to come forward and slot over from 45 yards.
Cork goalkeeper Michael Martin’s kickout was intercepted by Michael Quinlivan who looked to chip the keeper from 30-yard with the ball landing on the crossbar and over for a point that was as good as a goal at this stage of the game with the four point lead restored.
A Sean White free brought Cork back within one score going into five minutes of normal time which felt like an eternity as Cork piled on the pressure but Tipp defending superbly and on a counter-attack, Colin O’Riordan earned a 45 from which Comerford’s effort felt short but broke to the most experienced player on the Tipp team in Philip Austin who pointed for the clinching score.
John O’Rourke did reduce the margin to three, but Tipp held out to win a tenth Munster title and first since 1935, breaking the Cork/Kerry duopoly for the first time since 1992.
SCORERS – Tipperary: Conor Sweeney 0-7 (2 frees); Michael Quinlivan 0-5 (1 free); Liam Casey 0-2; Evan Comerford (free), Kevin Fahey, Philip Austin 0-1 each.
Cork: Luke Connolly (2 frees, 1 45), Mark Collins (3 frees) 0-4 each; John O’Rourke 0-2; Colm O’Callaghan, Brian Hurley, Cathail O’Mahony, Sean White (free) 0-1 each.
TEAMS – Tipperary: Evan Comerford; Alan Campbell, Jimmy Feehan, Colm O’Shaughnessy; Bill Maher, Kevin Fahey, Robbie Kiely; Steven O’Brien, Liam Casey; Brian Fox, Conal Kennedy, Colin O’Riordan; Colman Kennedy, Conor Sweeney (Capt), Michael Quinlivan.
Subs: Liam Boland for Colman Kennedy (53); Paudie Feehan for Fahey (54); Emmet Moloney for Fox (61); Padraic Looram for Kiely (65); Philip Austin for Casey (70+1).
Cork: Micheal Martin; Kevin O’Donovan, Maurice Shanley, Paul Ring; Tadhg Corkery, Sean Meehan, Mattie Taylor; Ian Maguire (Capt), Killian O’Hanlon; Ruairi Deane, Colm O’Callaghan, John O’Rourke; Mark Collins, Brian Hurley, Luke Connolly.
Subs: Cathail O’Mahony for Connolly (HT inj); Sam Ryan for Ring (40); Sean White for O’Callaghan (44); Mark Keane for O’Hanlon (59); Michael Hurley for Taylor (65).
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)