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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 16 February, 2019
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Tipp's breakthrough, Kerry back to winning ways, Cork hit another low

A good day for Tipperary and Kerry in the southern province.

Brian Fox celebrates Tipperary's third goal.
Brian Fox celebrates Tipperary's third goal.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

1. Tipperary make a famous Munster breakthrough

They have been threatening to disrupt the Munster football old order for some time and today Tipperary finally did just that. After all the strides made at underage level, they needed to take a senior scalp. Two years ago Tipperary came desperately close in Páirc Uí Chaoimh but wobbled with the finish line in sight. Today they made no mistake when approaching the winners enclosure at Semple Stadium.

It was a success all the more impressive given their squad has been stripped of towering figures. 11 players that featured in Tipperary’s 2015 Munster quarter-final win over Waterford are no longer involved. Now having beaten Cork, they can look forward to a Munster final assignment against Kerry.

2. A rollercoaster in Thurles

There were only 2,734 supporters present in Semple Stadium but the paltry attendance witnessed an engaging affair. Five goals, 31 points and four black cards were served up. The advantage swayed between the teams in the second-half and the outcome was a genuinely seismic result. It’s been a lethargic and predictable start to the 2016 championship, this match at least crackled with electricity.

In the second-half Tipperary fashioned a nine-point lead in the 44th minute that looked set to launch them to victory and held a nine-point lead in the 62 minute that seemed to guarantee success.

But Cork hung in grimly and when they regained parity in injury-time, it seemed like another telling of the old tale of a favourite wearing down an underdog. It was to Tipperary’s credit that they kept their nerve and had a superb freetaker in Kevin O’Halloran to deliver glory.

3. Kerry back on the winning trail

For Kerry, their first day out on the 2016 championship circuit brought familiar comforts in Fitzgerald Stadium after their deflating departure from the league in April against Dublin. It was a case of job done in swatting Clare aside by 12 points to book another Munster final berth yet it will be a novel experience in facing down Tipperary instead of old foes Cork.

The scoring returns of Stephen O’Brien (1-5) and Paul Geaney (0-5) caught the eye yet shipping 0-17 at the other end provided a more sobering thought. Éamonn Fitzmaurice got to run out newcomers in Brian Ó Beaglaoich and Tadgh Morley. Springing players from the bench like Ó Sé, Moran, Lyne, Keane, Geaney and Maher demonstrates that frantic competition for places remains.

David Moran scores a point David Moran kicks a point for Kerry during today's game. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

4. Clare’s task after bowing out of Munster

The spring was good to Clare football as they burst from the pack to land one of the promotion spots from Division 3. Winning silverware in the final against Kildare earned them further plaudits. They stumbled to victory in their Munster opener over Limerick last month and found Kerry too imposing an obstacle to get past today.

Chalking up 0-17 was no mean feat with David Tubridy and Pearse Lillis pointing the way. But leaking two cheap goals and losing Podge Collins to a black card ensured Clare departed with some regrets. The question now is can they step up to string together a winning run in the qualifiers? Reaching the last 12 will be their goal to prove that 2016 is an unqualified success.

5. Cork football hits another low

The flipside to Tipperary’s joy in Thurles at the final whistle was Cork’s despair. Losing to the Premier for the first time in championship combat in 72 years was another black day for a squad that suffered dejecting experiences against Dublin, Kerry and Kildare in 2015 before dropping out of Division 1 in April.

Defensively they could not put a halt today to Brian Fox’s probing runs or quell Michael Quinlivan’s influence at the edge of the square. A couple of stray kickouts had disastrous consequences as Tipperary profited for their first and third goals from such a scenario.

Certainly Cork did plough a route back into contention in the second-half and the U21 trio of Peter Kelleher, Sean White and Sean Powter showed promise when introduced as substitutes. Yet they had left themselves with too high a peak to scale.

The loss comes on the back of the Cork hurlers bowing out tamely at the same stadium to Tipperary last month. Troubling times for GAA in the county.

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No surprises as clinical Kerry ease past Clare

Tipperary stun Cork to book place in Munster senior football final

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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