Cork 4-19; Tipperary 2-25
These traditional powerhouses kept their unbeaten starts to the championship season intact and provided the crowd of close on 40,000 with an absorbing evening's entertainment full of goals and glittering hurling at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday evening.
Goals sustained Cork’s challenge in the first half when Tipp went point crazy and then the denouement saw three goals inject excitement in the final dozen minutes as the Rebels roused themselves yet again to salvage a point.
To do so they had to outscore Tipp by two to one and in that pulsating 2-4 late, late burst, they showed that they could be a real force again after almost two decades in the wilderness.
Going into the Lion’s den as Tipp did and being the better team for most of the game is a good sign for Liam Cahill’s team; Cork’s ability to whip up a storm when in the doldrums suggests that they have new found lairs missing when they were only also rams in recent years.
The two first half goals saw them largely wipe out the Tipp point scoring of that moiety; then when five points in arrears, they managed to hit a purple patch with 2-4 with Darragh Fitzgibbon’s goal starting that revival.
Tipp too showed remarkable ability to bounce back from adversity with sub Mark Kehoe hitting back with a goal to add to his four points - a good day’s work for sure.
For the second time when equalled, Tipp found a goal straight from the puck-out, with Dan McCormack feeding impact sub Mark Kehoe (1-4) who carried in to score.
Cork had their own supersub in Brian Hayes whose goal a minute from the end of normal time revitalized the Rebel ambush.
The venerable Séamus Callanan was almost a late goal hero but had to settle for a point as John McGrath’s emergency role as free taker failed to have a fairytale ending when his long-range effort drifted wide of the target.
Shane Kingston had the final say among the subs, his third point giving Cork a share of the spoils in front 36,765 fans.
Goals by David Dalton and Robbie O’Flynn, who injured himself in the process, meant that Tipp’s 0-14 points were largely wiped out by Cork’s 2-6. Tipp, who lost ace marksman Jason Forde to a hamstring injury after only 16 minutes, will point to several missed placed balls as a reason why ordinarily they would have gone home with two points in the bag.
Still, on a great night for hurling, there was something noble about sharing the spoils.
Cork: P Collins; D Cahalane, N O’Leary, G Millerick; R Downey, C Joyce, E Downey; T O’Connell, B Roche; D Dalton (1-2, 0-2f), D Fitzgibbon (1-1), S Barrett; R O’Flynn (1-0), P Horgan (0-8, 0-5f, 0-2 65), S Harnedy (0-3) Subs: S Kingston (0-3) for O’Flynn (35+1 inj), C Lehane (0-1) for Barrett (43), T O’Mahony (0-1) for E Downey (49), L Meade for Roche (55), C Cahalane for Joyce (58-61, blood), B Hayes (1-0) for Harnedy (69).
Tipperary: B Hogan; M Breen, C Barrett, Johnny Ryan; B O’Mara, R Maher, D McCormack; S Kennedy (0-3), C Stakelum (0-1); A Tynan (0-4), N McGrath (0-1), G O’Connor (1-3, 0-3f); J Forde (0-4, 0-3f), J Morris (0-3), S Ryan (0-1) Subs: M Kehoe (1-4) for Forde (16 inj), C Bowe for S Ryan (h-t), J McGrath for O’Connor (53), E Heffernan for Stakelum (63), S Callanan (0-1) for Bowe (69).
Ref: P O’Dwyer (Carlow).
Dublin 1-22; Wexford 0-23
While the glitz and glamor of Munster takes everyone’s breath away, quietly in Leinster Dublin are beginning to reestablish themselves as an eastern force following this unexpected two-points victory before just over 9,000 fans at Croke Park on Saturday.
Every new era for a county demands a new leader and in Donal Burke, former All Ireland-winning Galway manager Micheál Donoghue has unearthed a real gem.
Always in the vanguard over the 70 minutes plus injury time, he delivered a baker’s dozen of scores to edge his team over the line against a shocked Wexford side.
The Model men are now playing catch up as Saturday’s result means Dublin are favorites to take the third qualifying spot in the province behind the expected big two, Kilkenny and Galway.
Darragh Egan's side suffered a severe bout of squandermania, hitting no less than 19 wides - a wastage level that proved their undoing. There is no hiding place now for the south-easterners who must beat Westmeath and Kilkenny in their coming games to have any chance of advancing.
Dublin showed great character and heart as they were never headed in this duel and in fact led for most of the 77 minutes played. Wexford did claw their way back to clarity. When they did so in the 74th minute, it looked like they would break Dublin hearts by sneaking a late score to clinch the two points.
Cometh the hour, cometh the Burke with two scores from frees which ensured a major upset in the eastern conference. If that was a tough ask for the capital hurlers, their biggest test is down the road when they face Kilkenny in Nowlan Park on Saturday week.
A win there and their credentials will rise exponentially. Even then, they face Galway in the final game at Croke Park - so no easy options for Donoghue and his men as they seek to rebuilt the brand which has suffered since the halcyon days of Anthony Daly’s rule over a decade ago.
In this game Dublin led at the break by 1-9 to 0-10 thanks to Cian O'Sullivan's 19th-minute goal. Even then Burke was the provider as his long puck was expertly flicked home by the St Brigid’s man.
Wexford boss Egan roused his men at half-time and the players came out re-energised as they shot the first three points through Lee Chin and Simon Donohoe.
Instead of deflating their opponents, this only fired the Dubs to greater heights and they looked comfortable when five points ahead at the three quarter stage.
Rory O’Connor opened his shoulders to drive on Wexford's challenge while the arrival of Ciaran McDonald as a maker and taker of scores meant the teams were level going down the final strait.
Many felt that Wexford had the momentum with them at the right time but Burke’s influence was crucial as he bagged the final two scores.
Dublin: S Brennan; E O'Donnell, P Smyth; C Burke (0-1); C Donohoe, P Doyle (0-1), D Gray; M Grogan (0-1), C O'Leary (0-1); D Sutcliffe (0-1), D Burke (0-13, 0-10f), C Boland; C O'Sullivan (1-1), A Considine, R Hayes Subs: P Crummey (0-2) for Hayes 8, S Currie (0-1) for Considine 51, D Power for Grogan 59, D Purcell for O'Sullivan 74.
Wexford: J Lawlor; S Donohoe (0-1), L Ryan, S Reck; K Foley; C Devitt (0-1), M O'Hanlon, D Reck; C Dunbar (0-2), R Lawlor (0-1); J O'Connor (0-1), L Chin (0-8, 0-6f), O Foley (0-2); L Óg McGovern, R O'Connor (0-5, 0-3f) Subs: J O'Connor for D Reck 42, C McDonald (0-2) for R Lawlor 44, M Dwyer for J O'Connor 49, I Carty for Ryan 55, R Banville for Dunbar 71.
Ref: T Walsh (Waterford)
Easy for Kerry, Galway
The Clifford brothers suffered the loss of their mum on the Saturday but honored her memory by both starring as Kerry ran amuck against a disappointing Banner outfit at the Gaelic Grounds.
Footballer of the year David Clifford hit a magical 2-6 as Kerry won their 84th Munster title in front of a paltry 12,499 fans.
By half-time with the score standing at 3-8 to 0-7, the turkey shoot was over due to green flags from Tony Brosnan, Dara Moynihan and Clifford, whose brother Paudie got in on the act in the second half with David also getting his second.
In Castlebar, Sligo started well to lead by 0-3 to 0-1 with Pat Spillane, son of the legendary Kerry star, on the scoreboard.
However once Galway found their feet, there were simply different class with Matthew Tierney having one of those days when everything he touched turned to gold. He ended up with 2-7 to his credit with the first half goals killing off the game as a contest. Galway underlined their favoritism as real challengers for Sam Maguire this year after their 2-20 to 0-12 win while Sligo can look forward to seeing their U-20 team play Kildare in this weekend’s All Ireland final.
Connacht SF Final
Galway 2-20; Sligo 0-12
Munster SF Final
Kerry 5-14; Clare 0-15
Leinster Round-Robin SH
Kilkenny 5-31; Antrim 3-20
Dublin 1-22; Wexford 0-23
Galway 6-33; Westmeath 0-17
Munster Round-Robin SH
Cork 4-19; Tipperary 2-25
All Ireland U20 Football semi-finals
Sligo 1-8; Kerry 0-9
Kildare 1-11; Down 2-7