Tipperary 2-27 Cork 2-15
Michael Ryan's Tipperary booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Allianz Hurling League - and staved off the threat of relegation - with a comfortable 2-27 to 2-15 victory over championship opponents Cork at Semple Stadium this afternoon.
Cork were already condemned to a relegation play-off and their opponents will be Galway in two weeks time following this afternoon's top flight results.
Cork and Tipp now avoid the prospect of playing each other again prior to the Munster SHC quarter-final clash between the counties in May.
And perhaps that was the focus in many minds as this final group fixture was played out almost in challenge match mode - and with a final scoreline to boot.
Tipp advance to the League quarter-finals, where they'll face Division 1B winners Clare in a fortnight.
Cork, who suffered a fifth defeat from five Division 1A outings, must now fight it out with the Tribesmen for top-flight status in 2017.
There was a certain feeling of inevitability about the result in Thurles, as 7251 spectators looked on.
At various stages, there was almost a challenge match feel to proceedings and as well as racking up a huge score, Tipp also registered 16 wides.
There were some notable contributions from key players, nonetheless. Tipp had a brilliant midfield display from rising star Michael Breen, who shot 1-04 from play, while John McGrath also continued his excellent League form with a haul of five points from play.
John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer top-scored for Tipp with 0-10, including nine frees, but he was also off target with a number of efforts on a day when the hosts won at a canter.
Cork’s scorer in chief was Patrick Horgan but this was another disappointing outing for Kieran Kingston’s Rebels, who have been handed the wooden spoon in the top division this year.
Tipp led by 0-13 to 0-10 at half-time before predictably pulling away in the second half.
There was a welcome introduction for Seamus Callanan at the break, as the 2015 Hurler of the Year nominee tasted his first League action of the campaign, and Tipp’s opening goal arrived 20 minutes from time via Niall O’Meara.
Horgan responded for Cork with a goal 13 minutes from time before Breen hammered home a brilliant effort with five minutes left.
From their very next attack, Cork brought some degree of respectability to the scoreboard as sub Paudie O’Sullivan netted but this was too easy for the home side.
It was confirmed after the game the venue Tipp’s clash against Clare will be decided by a coin toss on Monday.
Tipperary: D Gleeson; C Barrett, J Barry, C O’Brien; B Heffernan, R Maher, P Maher; B Maher (0-01), M Breen (1-04); J O’Dwyer (0-10, 9f), N O’Meara (1-01), N McGrath (0-02); K Morris, J McGrath (0-05), A Ryan.
Subs: D McCormack (0-02) for Ryan (h.t.), S Callanan (0-02) for Morris (h.t.), W Ryan for Heffernan (52), A Coffey for N McGrath (59), T Hamill for Barry (66).
Cork: P Collins; K Burke, S McDonnell, C O’Sullivan; C Murphy, C Joyce, S O’Neill; P Haughney (0-01), J Cronin; B Lawton (0-01), C Lehane (0-03), B Cooper (0-01); L O’Farrell (0-01), A Cadogan, P Horgan (1-08, 0-06f).
Subs: D Kearney for J Cronin (h.t.), P Cronin for Lawton (55), P O’Sullivan (1-00) for Cooper (57), S Murphy for Burke (58), S Moylan for O’Farrell (67).
Referee: P O’Dwyer (Carlow)