"They're back": Tipperary manager Michael Ryan reckons the Rebels have returned

Cork ran out winners against the All Ireland champions on Sunday afternoon

Michael Ryan, Kieran Kingston

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Tipperary manager Michael Ryan praised Sunday's clash with Cork as "a great spectacle" and said that the Rebels' performance provided evidence that they are returning to their best form. 

In a tight encounter at Semple Stadium, the All Ireland champions were outdone by an industrious Cork performance and Kieran Kingston's side will now progress to face Waterford in the Munster SHC semi-final.

Speaking after the game, Ryan gave his thoughts on Tipperary's performance.

"We wouldn't have been happy with how we did play, but I thought it was a cracking game of hurling and to be fair to Cork, I thought they were excellent," he said.

"It was a fine spectacle. Scores were flying in on both sides. The second goal really put that bit of daylight between the sides.

"I thought Cork's energy trumped us in the middle third. They had a lot of ball and seemed to have fresher legs than us."

Tipperary have now suffered back-to-back defeats after losing to Galway in the league final in April. Ryan says his side need to be more clinical when taking their chances.

"You need to get [goals] if you want to win big Munster Championship games. But this is Cork. This time last year we were here saying that they weren't themselves.

"I'll tell you, they're back! We can take that as a certainty. They go into the semi-final to play Waterford. I think it's going to be a very interesting year."

He added: "The challenge is ours now. There will need to be some soul-searching done."

Ryan also pointed to the busy fixture list as one of the reasons why Tipperary have not been at 100% in recent weeks. He noted that each county has their own "unique situation" when it comes to fixture pile-up, but said it was something that needed to be addressed.

"Are our boys allowed enough time in terms of preparation? It's a delicate balance between club and county. We have to be fair to everybody here.

"For me, I'm just concerned our boys have been on the go. To me, they didn't look fresh enough out there."