In the wind and rain, brilliant Breen doesn't take no for an answer
Tipperary 2-18 Cork 1-17
The summer teams met in the winter elements.
And in the end, it was the champions who gritted their teeth and came out on top.
In Limerick, the weather was woeful. The rain was sheeting and the gale was howling. For Tipperary, Michael Breen was like a duck in water. The Ballina man, brought into the team by Liam Sheedy, swung over two incredible scores off left and right to give his county a foothold in the first half. Jason Forde tacked on a few frees as Tipp led by 0-5 to 0-2 at the first water break.
But unfortunately for them, that was as good as it got for the first half. Despite being encouraged by a considerable breeze, Tipperary's use of the ball was poor and their shooting was well off. Cork on the other hand, were working the ball up the field with Mark Coleman yet again, phenomenal in the half back line. Declan Dalton struck over a fine score under pressure as Cork came into the game.
Tipp's marquee men, the likes of John McGrath and Seamus Callanan were struggling out there but that's when the brilliant Breen and the impressive Niall O'Meara stood tall.
Hoggie meanwhile, was purring and when the Tipp guard slipped, he made hay on half a chance. The ball broke from a cluster in midfield and with all the defenders having been sucked out of position, it was the lonely run in for the Glen Rovers man. He didn't find it lonely at all however, putting the head down before beating Brian Hogan. Game on.
To Tipp's credit, they fought back admirably with Jason Forde slotting a free before Michael Breen slung another over from the line to give Tipp a two point lead heading at the interval.
Michael Breen is like a duck in waterpic.twitter.com/JPP6lV4EcR
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) November 14, 2020
Against the gale, it was always going to be difficult for the Premier and Cork gobbled up the two point deficit with Seamus Harnedy and Robbie O'Flynn scoring from open play, as Hoggie continued to slot the frees.
Tipp were up against it at this stage but Jason Forde kept them alive with a brilliantly taken solo goal, as he won the ball under pressure before beating Anthony Nash. Brian Hogan's sharp short puck-outs were reaping more and more dividends as Tipp began to build from the back.
Seamus Callanan was beginning to cause problems for Cahalane and eventually McDonnell as he pointed twice in quick succession.
Cork weren't finished however, with Horgan and Harnedy bringing them back level, and eventually putting them one up with six to play.
From here, with Liam Sheedy getting more and more tense on the line, Tipperary took over the game with the Kiladangan men Willie Connors and Paul Flynn making brilliant contributions off the bench. Connors' cuteness on the ball made a huge difference in the wet conditions, with Flynn's radar still in since his county final heroics.
Jake Morris capped a fine individual performance with a well-taken goal to finish Cork off, after some more good work from Connors.
And then there was Michael Breen. The big man has been on and off the Tipperary team in recent times but he gave Liam Sheedy a timely reminder of his worth on Sunday. His pace, power and physicality were unmatched in the Gaelic Grounds, as he struck five points from play and generally, ran the Cork defence ragged.
Watch the Full-Time Highlights of Tipperary v Cork in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Qualifier here on GAANOW!
Cork: 1-17 pic.twitter.com/Kqc8GJPMvP
— The GAA (@officialgaa) November 14, 2020
To him, the Premier are indebted but Brendan Maher and the aforementioned O'Meara also roared into the game when it was up for grabs. The All-Ireland champions haven't gone anywhere yet.