Tipperary will face Dublin in the quarter-finals of Division 1 of the Allianz Hurling League following an impressive victory over Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday.
Going into their final Division 1A group game – rearranged after last Sunday’s postponement – knowing victory was essential, Liam Sheedy’s side trailed three times in the early stages but once three straight points had them 0-05 to 0-03 in front, they led for the remainder.
Having played with the wind in the first half, Tipp turned with a 0-16 to 0-06 half-time lead and a goal from Jason Forde – who finished with 1-13 – opened up a 13-point advantage early in the second half.
Even at that stage, the outcome appeared to be an inevitability and so it proved, leaving Cork to have to face Kilkenny in a relegation play-off.
A crowd of 3,681 was present at the venue, which passed a 10am pitch inspection, and though the early stages were close, Tipp soon gained control as Forde, Michael Breen, Noel McGrath, Niall O’Meara and John O’Dwyer all impressed.
While Cork’s Patrick Horgan did close the gap to a point with his third of the game, Tipp pulled clear again with five in a row, Forde unerring from frees, and Cork struggled to make an impact against the wind.
Tipp had five straight points to finish the first half, three coming from Forde while Jake Morris and Breen got the others. Cork’s task was made tougher by the departure of Alan Cadogan – making his start in 51 weeks – with injury, but they did have the wind to come.
They might have had a good start to the second half in luckier circumstances as Tipp goalkeeper Paul Maher couldn’t hold Cormac Murphy’s delivery but the ball went out for a 65 rather than dropping in for a goal.
Horgan sent the resultant 65 over, but Breen replied for Tipp and they were soon 1-17 to 0-7 ahead. Noel McGrath’s ball from midfield was the catalyst, with Cork full-back Damien Cahalane unable to claim, and Forde latched onto the ball and fired home.
Cork did get two of the next four points, but Tipp’s dominance never looked like being shaken and they reeled off six more without reply in the next 12 minutes. Cork sub Robbie O’Flynn ended their drought but they lost captain Séamus Harnedy to a straight red card and though Aidan Walsh found the net late on, it was merely a consolation.
Tipperary: Paul Maher; Joe O’Dwyer, James Barry, Cathal Barrett; Ronan Maher, Pádraic Maher, Robert Byrne; Noel McGrath (0-01), Michael Breen (0-06); John McGrath (0-01), Niall O’Meara (0-02), Séamus Callanan (0-03, 0-01 free); John O’Dwyer (0-01), Jason Forde (1-13, 0-08 frees, 0-01 65), Jake Morris (0-02).
Subs: Patrick Maher for Forde (59, injured), Alan Flynn for Joe O’Dwyer (60), Barry Heffernan for O’Meara (64), Mark Kehoe for Callanan (68).
Cork: Anthony Nash; Darren Browne, Damien Cahalane, Stephen McDonnell; Christopher Joyce, Tim O’Mahony, Eoin Cadogan; Cormac Murphy, Bill Cooper (0-01); Dan Dooley, Séamus Harnedy, Aidan Walsh (1-00); Alan Cadogan (0-01), Conor Lehane (0-04), Patrick Horgan (0-06, 0-05 frees).
Subs: Shane Kingston (0-01) for Alan Cadogan (32, injured), Mark Coleman (0-01) for Eoin Cadogan, Luke Meade (0-01) for Dooley (both half-time), Robbie O’Flynn (0-01) for Murphy (52), Jack O’Connor for Walsh (70, injured).
Referee: Seán Cleere (Kilkenny).