Tyrone made it two wins from as many outings in the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final group phase at Croke Park this evening but Mickey Harte’s men were pushed all the way by a courageous Cork team.
Second-half goals from Cathal McShane and Peter Harte (penalty) were required to see off the Rebels on a scoreline of 2-15 to 2-12.
Boosted by a Luke Connolly goal straight from the throw-in, Ronan McCarthy’s charges played on the front foot for the first-half and their supporters would have dared to dream of an upset when James Loughrey added a second in the 18th minute to send them in at half-time with a 2-4 to 0-5 advantage.
Whatever Mickey Harte said to his troops during the half-time team-talk had the desired effect, however, as they fought back to wrestle the lead off their opponents by the 48th minute.
McShane palmed the ball to the back of the Cork net in the 44th minute before Harte punished Cork for a foul on Niall Sludden inside the large rectangle four minutes later.
That left the scoreboard reading Tyrone 2-7, Cork 2-5 lead and the team in white and red delved deep into their reservoir of experience to grind out the win.
McShane and Harte shared the scoring honours for the Ulster outfit with 1-5 apiece while Mattie Donnelly kicked three valuable points.
Connolly finished with 1-3 to his name while Michael Hurley made a big impact off the bench with four points as Cork refused to throw in the towel.
When the dust settles on this defeat, McCarthy and his troops can reflect on a performance that represented a major improvement on their heavy round 4 qualifier exit to the same opposition 12 months ago.
They will look to claim a Super 8 scalp when they entertain Roscommon at Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday, August 4th while Tyrone will play host to All-Ireland champions Dublin at Healy Park on the same day.
Tyrone - N Morgan; HP McGeary, R McNamee, R Brennan; M McKernan, K McGeary, F Burns; C Cavanagh, B Kennedy; M Donnelly (0-3), N Sludden, P Harte (1-5, 1-0pen, 0-3f); D McCurry, C McShane (1-5, 0-4f), C Meyler (0-1). Subs: P Hampsey for B Kennedy, R Donnelly for D McCurry, M Cassidy for HP McGeary, T McCann (0-1) for M McKernan, C McAliskey for N Sludden.
Cork - M White; S Cronin, Thomas Clancy, K Flahive; L O’Donovan, Tomas Clancy, M Taylor (0-1); I Maguire, K O’Hanlon; K O’Driscoll, S White (0-1), R Deane; M Collins (0-2f), B Hurley, L Connolly (1-3, 0-2f). Subs: J Loughrey (1-0) for Tomas Clancy, P Kerrigan for B Hurley, M Hurley (0-4) for M Collins, S Powter for S White, J O’Rourke (0-1) for K O’Driscoll, S Sherlock for S Cronin.
Referee - M Deegan.Tweet