» Preview: TIPPERARY vs CORK (Munster Hurling Championship)

19 May

Preview: TIPPERARY vs CORK (Munster Hurling Championship)

Posted by Darren Kelly in Match Previews / Reports,News | May 2017

TIPPERARY vs CORK (Sunday, 21st May – 4pm Semple Stadium)

Considered ‘unbeatable’ just two months earlier, suddenly Tipperary are carrying doubts and reservations as they begin the defence of their Munster and national titles.

After beating Kilkenny in the 2016 Al-Ireland final, the Premier County blazed through their opening league assignments before hitting their first obstacle. A Patrick Horgan winner gave the Rebels a 0-26 to 3-16 victory securing them second in Division 1A. But it didn’t stop there for Tipperary!

They dismissed Offaly, dominated the fractious clash with Wexford, but then suffered a heavy 17-point league final defeat to Galway. Suddenly, Tipperary’s ability to deliver back-to-back McCarthy Cups for the first time since 1965 is under question.

But Tipperary have lost just two competitive games in 14, were missing Seamus Callanan (broken thumb) and have won seven or their last eight summer meetings with Cork. They wanted to win the league and their ‘invincible’ tag was shaken. But championship is completely different!

Cork were within a puck of the ball of winning the 2013 All-Ireland but have suffered hard times since Tipperary blew them away in the following year’s semi-final. And their tame 0-22 to 0-13 defeat in 2016 came off the back of five losses in the league.

But Kieran Kingston will know this is a major step up. They’ll believe more in hope than expectation. Anthony Nash’s puck outs will be critical; Mark Coleman and Damien Cahalane in defence, midfielder Bill Cooper and attackers Alan Cadogen, Horgan and Conor Lehane need strong outings.

Tipperary are minus Donagh Maher, John Meagher, the suspended Jason Forde and possibly Patrick ‘Bonnar’ Maher (hamstring). But defenders James Barry, Padraic and Ronan Maher, midfielder Brendan Maher, and attackers Callanan and the McGraths (Noel and John) are proven performers.

Tipperary are 1/4 favourites, Cork 7/2 with the draw 12/1. Tipperary are chasing a first Munster treble since 1989. Cork are trying to avoid three successive opening defeats for the first time ever. The hurling championship will get a baptism of fire but the All-Ireland champions have been warned.

Verdict: Tipperary

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