Tyrone are through to the Super 8s competition after a comprehensive victory over Cork this evening.
It was a poor spectacle for the crowd in O’Moore Park. Many were expecting a defiant and energetic performance from Cork following their disappointing demolition at the hands of Kerry in the Munster final, but that did not transpire, instead they were shaky in defence while indecisiveness up front cost them. It’s difficult to gauge the progression of Tyrone based on the level of opposition but they looked assured, clinical and ruthless this evening, proving they will be force to be reckoned with in the Super 8s.
It was an uncomfortable start for the Rebel county as they failed to cope with the pace and physicality that Tyrone injected into the game immediately. Niall Sludden knocked over an early point before Conor Meyler got side’s first chance on goal, easing past the Cork defence before Mark White made a good save. Frank Burns added a point before the onsluaght on goal continue this time Peter Harte forcing White into another save.
Cork looked miles off the pace as Tyrone easily created space in midfield to launch attack after attack. Eventually, Ruairi Deane got Cork’s first point from play after 15 minutes and Michael Hurley added another to settle his side. The Rebels began to run at the Tyrone defence as they gained confidence and they managed to draw out a free which Luke Connolly converted.
But they weren’t able to keep Mickey Harte’s side quiet for long as the lively Peter Harte and Sludden eased Tyrone back into a comfortable lead. Things went from bad to worse for Cork as Jamie O’Sullivan was black carded for a foul on Harte and Conor McAliskey was gifted another free on the 13 metre line. Cathal McShane added another to leave his side with a five point surplus at half-time.
McShane opened the scoring for Tyrone in the second half but Cork responded emphatically with a wonderful long range score from Mark Collins, something they couldn’t execute in the first half. But Tyrone stepped up the gear and Cork couldn’t react. McAliskey and Richie Donnelly fired over for the Ulstermen before corner-back, Padraig Hampsey drew out the Cork defence before slipping the ball to McAliskey who blasted a shot at the Cork goal, this time White not able to stop it.
Connolly was the top performer for Cork and he sent two points gliding over the bar from play to keep them in the game but there was nothing he could do about the ferocity of the Tyrone attack at the other end. Substitute, Ronan O’Neill got on the end of a well worked team move and fisted the ball into the Cork goal before adding another point from a free as frustration got the better of the Cork defence.
Mark Collins was red-carded for a high challenge on Conor Meyler and Cork’s heads well and truly dropped. With seconds left in normal time, Mark Bradley finished off another team effort to send Tyrone sailing through and Cork packing, with a lot of soul-searching to be done over the long summer.
Cork: Mark White; James Loughrey, Jamie O’Sullivan, Kevin Crowley; Kevin Flahive, Stephen Cronin, Cian Kelly; Ian Maguire, Brian O’Driscoll; Sean White, Mark Collins (0-2), Ruairi Deane (0-1); Luke Connolly (0-9, 4f), Brian Hurley, Michael Hurley (0-1).
Substitutions: Killian O’Hanlon for Jamie O’Sullivan (33) Paul Kerrigan for Cronin (41) Donnacha O’Connor for B Hurley (46)
Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Michael McKernan; Tiernan McCann, Frank Burns (0-3), Peter Harte (0-1, 1f); Colm Cavanagh (0-1), Declan McClure; Mattie Donnelly (0-1), Niall Sludden (0-2), Conor Meyler; Cathal McShane (0-3), Richard Donnelly (0-1), Conor McAliskey (1-6, 4f).
Substitution: Ronan O’Neill (1-2) for for McAliskey (47) Mark Bradley (1-0) for Harte (49) Aidan McCrory for McKernan (50) Rory Brennan for Burns (49)