Cork get their Allianz Hurling League Campaign underway this Saturday evening(7.00) when they welcome Tipperary to Pairc Ui Rinn.
A meeting between the two great rivals of Munster hurling is always one to look forward to, and this game is no exception.
The Rebels exceeded expectations in the league last season, hitting the ground running under new boss Jimmy Barry Murphy. The men from Leeside have plenty of talent in their ranks, and will be eager to build on this progress in 2013.
The hosts surprised a number of better fancied teams in Division 1A in 2012,reaching the final against all the odds. No-one will fancy a trip to Cork this season as things can only get better for JBM and Co. Now that the new manager has had time to settle in and get to know his players, there will be plenty of supporters expecting great things from the county. A good league run is probably more important to Cork than to Tipperary, and a win on Saturday would provide a solid platform.
The Premier county will feel that they let standards slip a little in 2012, and Eamon O’Shea is likely to use the league to blood some new talent. An All Ireland Championship is the ultimate ambition for Tipperary, with a league run being more of a bonus.
Cork introduce three debutants with Stephen White, Daniel Kearney and Stephen Moylan all seeing action for the first time. John O’Dwyer has been named in the Tipperary starting fifteen, while Johnny Ryan partners Shane McGrath at midfield.
Cork have home advantage and more to play for. At a best priced 13/8 with Boylesports, the Rebels get the verdict to cause a minor surprise and take the points.