John Gardiner column Cork Tipp from Thurles 91 Killarney 04 to Croke

first_imgBrendan Maher and Lorcan McLoughlin will be in opposition tomorrow. Source: James Crombie/INPHOSO WE’RE LEFT with the old guard. If you were to pick the All-Ireland semi-finalists at the start of the year, then Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny would have made the cut. Clare would have been the tip to complete the semi-final line-up, instead Limerick came forward to contest the last four.The three traditional counties are left with Kilkenny already safely through to the final. The prize is massive tomorrow between Cork and Tipperary, and I think whoever wins will be the favourites on September 7th.RivalryTipperary are Cork hurling’s biggest rivals. The first game I remember being at against Tipp was back in ’91 when we went up to Thurles. When we won the All-Ireland minor in ’01, we lost to Tipp in the Munster final but came through the backdoor to beat Galway in the final.Cork love playing Tipperary and it’s vice-versa. It’s always guaranteed to be a good game. The counties are similar enough in their approach to hurling. It’s generally 15 on 15, a traditional game with the absence of sweepers.Tipperary was the crucial game when we won the All-Ireland back in 2004. We’d lost the Munster final to Waterford and had a couple of meetings to regroup afterwards in Páirc Uí Rinn. We were drawn against Tipp and we ended up going down to Killarney to play them.It was a strange situation, we’d never played there before. There was a massive crowd there, huge traffic jams coming everywhere into the town. We were under pressure in the first-half but Timmy Mac came on and turned the whole thing around. He was the Cork hero that day and that win over Tipp changed our season. John Gardiner and Benny Dunne battle it out in 2004. Source: INPHOWe won the following two Munster finals against Tipp but the dynamic has changed since Tipp won in 2008. They’ve taken over in terms of the rivalry and dominated. The one day we got it right was in 2010. We’d one main tactic that day, get the ball in to Aisake at the edge of the square. He was on fire and showed how a big man could cause trouble for the Tipp defence.Target ManYou look at Tipp this summer and there’s still signs that they can’t get to grips with a big full-forward. Johnny Glynn got a lot of joy in getting goals for Galway against Tipp in the qualifiers from that tactic. Paul Curran is Tipp’s number one choice, he steadies the ship for them yett has had injury problems.Padraic Maher has done a job there but he looks more comfortable in the half-back line. James Barry got the nod the last day but he’s inexperienced. Cork could look to exploit that and I think Seamus Harnedy could be a guy who does that for them.I think Paudie O’Sullivan will have a big role in this game for Cork. He’s had a good few weeks of training under his belt and he’s ready for this now. He’ll bring players into the game and he showed his scoring worth with a well-taken goal against Limerick. Paudie O’Sullivan celebrates after hitting the net against Limerick. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHOSome of the Cork players have had disappointments since the Munster final, the footballers lost to Mayo and the U21 hurlers lost to Clare. I don’t think there’ll be many hangovers. I remember as an U21 player, you always had one eye on the senior games and focus wasn’t a problem.Alan Cadogan’s coming off a heavy Munster U21 final defeat but I don’t think that will effect him. He’s a brilliant player. I’m involved with the Na Piarsaigh U21 hurling side this year and we played Douglas recently. We won the match but Cadogan was a big danger for them.Scoring ThreatHis turn is brilliant, he gets out in front and the minute the ball hits his hand he’s gone away with it. That always gives him an opportunity to grab scores. I’d like to see him go straight for goal more often and force defenders to make defenders make a decision on whether to leave the space or go to him which could result in a foul.Tipp need Michael Cahill back in defence. He’s their best corner-back and one of the best in the country. Eamon O’Shea could do with his availability to handle that Cork threat with Cadogan and Hoggy close to goal. Michael Cahill missed Tipperary’s win over Dublin through injury. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHOSeamus Callanan is the main guy that Tipperary are looking to in attack. He’s been really good in the qualifiers but this is a big pressure situation now. He has all the talent but Tipperary have been dependent on him. I think Stephen McDonnell is best suited to him. He’s physically stronger than when he first came on the Cork panel, is a really good marker and you don’t see him waste the ball when he’s in possession.Bonner Maher is going to take some watching by the Cork defence. It’ll be interesting to see how they manage. I think they’ll leave Mark Ellis in his holding role – which has been a major success for Cork so far – but Bonner can do damage and they need to cut off his direct runs.The big thing for Tipperary is getting their half-back line to combat the Cork half-forward line. Harnedy, Cooper and Lehane all did fierce damage against Limerick. They won the game for Cork and they’ll want to replicate that. I think Tipp will put Padraic Maher on Harnedy to quieten him and that’ll leave Cork to focus on pucking the ball down on Cooper and Lehane while trying to bring Hoggy out to pick up the breaks. Patrick Horgan will be a key figure for Cork against Tipperary. Source: James Crombie/INPHOI think Tipp slightly have an edge coming into this game with the momentum of the qualifier wins behind them. We saw with Kilkenny last Sunday that it takes teams a while to get going after winning the provincial finals. Cork have been slow to start in games this year and have had to cope with a break again.There’s going to be a big buzz about this game. Moving this rivalry to Croke Park makes it a huge occasion and both teams won’t have seen anything last Sunday to leave them fearful for the final. Who’ll reach the first Sunday in September? I’ll go with Cork based on the fact that I think they have a better forward unit that can trouble the Tipp backs more than the other way around. It’s going to be tight though. Jimmy Barry-Murphy and Eoin Kelly will be in opposition on Sunday. Source: James Crombie/INPHOOpinion: Limerick made hurling progress in 2014 but this defeat is going to hurtJohn Gardiner column – Epic battle in rain leaves Limerick heartbroken as Kilkenny survivelast_img read more