Cork and Tipperary ready to renew rivalry

Updated: June 21, 2012

The clash of Cork and Tipperary in this Sundays Munster Hurling semi-final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh is one the highlights on the hurling calendar, and promises to be another classic battle between the two great rivals.

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The Rebels will be looking to avenge last year’s eight point defeat in Thurles, where goals from Eoin Kelly, Lar Corbett and Benny Dunne saw Tipp take the bragging rights. The overall record between the two counties could hardly be closer, with Cork’s 37 victories putting them one ahead of the Premier County. The last clash in Leeside in 2010 resulted in a somewhat surprise 3-15 to 0-14 victory for the home side, with Aisake O’hAilpin in particular tormenting the Tipp defence. The game was sweet revenge for the 2008 meeting, where Tipp defeated Cork in their own ground for the first time in 75 years.
The return of Lar Corbett to the Tipperary panel has caused great excitement amongst their supporters, and is expected to play some role in the game. There is speculation that Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher and Shane McGrath, both impressive after coming off the bench against Limerick last time out, could start. Sharpshooter Eoin Kelly is believed to be under pressure to retain his jersey.

Cork’s main selection issue centres on Donal Og Cusack’s replacement in goals. An Achilles tendon injury has ruled him out for the season, with Anthony Nash, Martin Coleman and Darren McCarthy vying for the number one jersey. The league finalists will look to build on the momentum of reaching the league final before Kilkenny dispatched any notions of immediate silverware for Jimmy Barry-Murphy on his return to the hotseat. Newcomers to the senior squad Darren Sweetnam, Conor Lehane, Lorcan McLoughlin and Luke O’Farrell will be eager to translate their impressive league form into the championship. Og Cusack is not reading anything into the team’s emphatic win over Sunday’s opponents in the league semi-final. “”It’s championship where their focus has been the last number of years,” said the Cloyne shotstopper. They’ll come down to Cork full of confidence and it’s up to us to steel ourselves for that.”

Tipp’s imperious centre-back and two-time All-Star Conor O’Mahony expects a ferocious battle on Sunday. “It’s going to be a massive game. The last time we were down there we were beaten by 10 points, so we don’t have fond memories of going there”. Manager Declan Ryan believes that the pressure is on Cork with his side’s poor record on Leeside. “We know we don’t have a great record in Cork, so from that point of view, there is no a lot of pressure on Tipp travelling down”.

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