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Teenager makes his mark, Tipp keep season alive and win slips from Cork's grasp

There was plenty to digest after today’s battle in Thurles.

Cork take on Limerick next week while Tipperary face Waterford.
Cork take on Limerick next week while Tipperary face Waterford.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

1. Teenager makes his mark on senior debut for Tipperary

The return of big name attackers to the fold was seen as a pre-match boost for Tipperary’s prospects but ultimately it was a teenager on his debut who made the critical intervention. Jake Morris starred when the Tipperary minor side won the 2016 All-Ireland and was involved when they lost out after a riveting two-game saga in the same grade against Cork last summer.

Parachuted into the senior squad recently, Morris was pushed into action in the 70th minute by manager Michael Ryan today. The Nenagh Éire Óg youngster got one chance when the ball spilled into his direction late on and the teenager snapped over a close-range point to grab a share of the spoils for Tipperary.

2. Tipperary keep their season alive

After last Sunday’s reversal in Limerick, Tipperary required a positive response today on home soil. But the outlook was grim at the break as they faced the prospect of a hiding with Cork ahead of them in the distance in possession of a nine-point advantage.

A second successive loss would have left them facing a steep incline in the battle to get out of Munster this summer but when their situation was bleak, Tipperary produced their best phase of play in quite a while. Their fightback culminated in something tangible, a draw that keeps their season alive.

3. Cork top of the table yet a winning opportunity slips away

It’s an odd situation for Cork to be top of the Munster table after two rounds of games, still unbeaten and yet forced to rue the outcome this afternoon in Thurles. Leaving aside the nine-point interval advantage, which was quickly whittled down to four early in the second half, it is pertinent to look at the three-point lead they had manufactured with three minutes of normal time left.

But Cork couldn’t withstand the waves of Tipperary pressure and were forced to make do with a draw. They had produced some thrilling passages of play, particularly in the first half when their movement and passing was a joy to watch, yet a second win on the bounce just slipped away at the finish.

The significance of this result will only be revealed in the coming weeks as to whether Cork’s missed opportunity will be crucial.

4. Scoring stars shine at either end

It was an afternoon where forwards made an impact and wreaked havoc on defences. Shane Kingston made his first championship start for Cork in the corresponding game last year and the fixture is clearly to his liking as he took the Tipperary defence for 1-5. Captain Seamus Harnedy had an explosive start to the game and finished with 0-5 to his credit.

For Tipperary they can be thankful to the combined input of 1-8 from play from the McGrath brothers. Last July John and Noel hit 0-10 between them in a crucial contribution to Tipperary’s All-Ireland quarter-final success over Clare. This felt like a game that had a broadly similar theme, their scoring touch and creative play were key ingredients in enabling Tipperary to chisel out a result.

5. Thrilling spectacle endorses new Munster format

For the second time in twelve months, Cork and Tipperary played out an electric May Munster hurling game in Thurles. Last year’s saw an unfancied and fledgling Cork team deliver a knockout blow to Tipperary’s provincial hopes. But even with that equation removed, this round-robin game still delivered quality and drama in spades.

The new format creates intrigue in what has gone before and what is to come. How Tipperary would respond to the Limerick loss and how Cork would build on their Clare win were key questions before throw-in. At the final whistle, thoughts shifted to what this draw will do for Tipperary’s Munster series and how Cork will now fare against Limerick next Saturday night. It was a game that endorsed the new format.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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