Cork 1-14 Tipperary 1-14 – National Hurling League

Cork: D. Og Cusack; S. McDonnell; E. Cadogan; S. Murphy; J. Gardiner (0-2f); R. Curran (0-1); J. Nagle; L. McLoughlin (J. O’Connor, 0-1); P. Cronin (0-1); T. Kenny (P. Horgan); C. McCarthy (0-3; B. Cooper); C. Naughton (0-1); B. O’Connor (0-4f); M. Cussen (P. O’Sullivan); L. O’Farrell (1-1).

Tipperary: B. Cummins; M. Cahill; P. Curran; P. Stapleton (E. Connolly); J. O’Keeffe; P. Maher; D. Young (J. Coghlan); G. Ryan; S. McGrath (M. Gleeson); B. Dunne (1-2); N. McGrath (0-3); P. Maher (J. O’Brien 0-1); S. Bourke (B. O’Meara 0-1); P. Bourke (0-6, 0-5f, 0-1 65); L. Corbett.

A disapointing result accompanied a disapointing Cork/Tipp encounter last Sunday in the Pairc. With Kilkenny victorious against Waterford Cork’s slim chances of getting into a league final disapeared while the game itself largely failed to spark, both teams looking rusty and sluggish, particularly in the first half. It was a game that Cork could have easily stolen when Ben O’Connor missed a free deep in injury time but the draw was a generally fair result.

Best for Cork was again probably Patrick Cronin. He dominated midfield for much of the game, lessening the infleunce of an off-colour Shane McGrath considerably. He is noticeably more assertive and more confident in midfield then at half-forward , offers a considerable ability to point from distance and is now an almost guaranteed start at midfield come championship. McLoughlin played some nice ball and did well in possession before going off injured with what looked like a hurt shoulder – one assumes it’ll be Jerry O’Connor for the final midfield spot if McLoughlin is out for any decent amount of time. Elsewhere our full-back line probably put in their best performance of the league so far – Stephen McDonnell showed some fight and determination, as one would expect from a Glen player, while Eoin Cadogan seems slowly to be getting more and more confident in full-back (although still prone to mistakes – both McDonnell and Cadogan ran into each other when trying to clear a ball for example). The half-back line dominated throughout – Gardiner was close to MOTM, and Curran looked to have hit some form, both playing huge amounts of ball. Nagle was most impressive, excellent in possession he read the game well and similarly played a lot of ball. At the same time his marking was a little lax with Benny Dunne getting an number of scores off him – nonetheless Nagle definitely deserves a start against Wexford.

Our forwards again let the side down somewhat. Cian McCarthy was the best, putting in a decent shift and pointing three times while Ben O’Connor was pretty decent from frees, although it is clear that his speed is almost completely gone. Luke O’Farrell was also good, scoring 1-1 from play although he did struggle to win a lot of the ball sent his way. Maybe unsuprisingly our half-forwards and full-forward were less impressive – Kenny and Naughton offered little to nothing throughout, besides Naughton’s solitary point from play. Cussen at least created a couple of chances which he unfortunately failed to finish and bar one good catch Curran had him under control. Our forward problems continue then, Cussen failing to offer the clinicalness and skill needed for an inter-county forward while neither Naughton or Kenny showed anything to suggest they should play come championship.

For Tipp, there was similarly a handful of good performances and a couple of worrying ones. Curran coped with the awkward Cussen very well; Noel McGrath started the game brilliantly and pointed three cracking points from play while Benny Dunne was a thorn in the Cork half-back line throughout.  Elsewhere Gearoid Ryan played a lot of ball at midfield, Pa Bourke was excellent from the place ball and offered good movement while the Tipp half-back line was on top throughout. At the same time marquee names like Corbett and Shane McGrath offered suprisingly little – at the same time, it would be unfair to read too much into individual performances in a nothing league game. All in all, and a bit like Cork, Tipp looked like a team that had been training hard and wasn’t overly bothered about the final result.

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