Tipp FM’s Tipp v Cork preview including exclusive interviews with Ronan Maher, James Barry, John McGrath and Shane McGrath”
by Stephen Gleeson
This Sunday we will all be privileged to witness the latest chapter in the historical legacy of Tipp versus Cork in the Munster hurling championship.
38 times Tipp have been victorious, 37 times for Cork, in what’s a perennial battle that is full of shared memories and a mutual respect for the warriors and their followers on both sides so, there’s never been much to separate them over the years.
The heroes of Munster Hurling have locked horns right back since the now faded times of blistering summer days, glass bottles and long journeys.
When the duo met in Thurles, hurling lovers were often stuck in tailbacks to Killinan or Loughtagalla and so setting out early was a must. Some years there were pilgrimages to exotic packed venues like the old Páirc Uí Chaoimh or one experienced being part of the collective 50,000 plus souls watching a live knockout Munster hurling game in Páirc na nGael or Killarney.
The names of old like Ringy, Rattler, Jimmy Doyle, Mick Roche, Jimmy Barry Murphy, Jim Cashman and Pat Fox are all part of the rich tapestry of these great rivals. As time moves on new heroes emerge to new generations. Tipp and Cork, the 2017 version, go at it again Sunday. How will it go?
Both teams are coming into it on the back of promising but ultimately disappointing league campaigns. Cork beat Tipp in spring before bowing out to Limerick at the quarter final stage.
Tipp fell flat against Galway in Limerick in the final and have had a tough run in since. Hamstring injuries to Bonner Maher (whilst playing for Lorrha against Templederry in the north championship), Donagh Maher and experienced Sarsfields corner back Michael Cahill meant that Tipp were three down. Barry Heffernan picked up a shoulder injury, Kieran Bergin left the panel and decided to play football instead hence the Tipp panel back up has faltered somewhat.
Add in the result of the Jason Forde appeal in front of the Central Appeals Committee during the week and Tipp are well diluted on Sunday. It was a tough few weeks for Tipp and Jason who suffered disproportionately after Davy Fitzgerald ran onto the field in the league semi final of the meeting of Wexford and Tipp. The consequence is Silvermines Jason Forde can’t hurl this weekend.
Cork, as Christy Ring used to say are like the mushrooms. They will smell an opportunity this weekend. Cadogen, Horgan and Lehane are pacey forwards who just want two seconds of room to swing the stick fast.
New players to the scene like Shane Kingston and Luke Meade won’t have any hang ups about the last decade when Cork only managed 6 goals against Tipp in championship.
The rebels will look for goals early and often on Sunday and if Michael Cahill or Donagh Maher can’t fill the corner back position then who will? From the four corners of the county-Kildangan’s Alan Flynn, Killenaule’s Joe O’Dwyer, Killea’s Tomas Hamill and Clonoulty’s John O Keefe-are the front runners.
The number fours performance could be vital just like in 1991. Back then, Babs sent on a confident Upperchurch Under 21 hurler to sink or swim against Cork. To herald his arrival Michael Ryan hit a long clearance in to Pat Fox who buried it past Ger Cunningham to wild celebrations from the Tipp crowd. The rest is blue and gold history as Tipp went on to beat Kilkenny in the All Ireland final. All the jigsaw pieces are important.
Tipp should prevail but the rebels are keen on rising in time for the unveiling of their magnificent new venue by the banks later this summer. How they’d dearly love to be in this years Munster final. For Tipp it’s time to get back on the horse after the dusting down against Galway in the league final. So there’s plenty to prove for both sides.
Let’s hope there’s a cracker in store and it lives up to the rich history these two hurling giants have created over time.
Verdict: Tipp to march on after weathering a storm
Ahead of the game Tipp FM’s Stephen Gleeson was speaking to:
Tipp FM’s full live coverage of Tipp vs Cork on Sunday with Stephen Gleeson and Ken Hogan is brought to you in association with “Mulcahy Car Sales Ardcroney, Nenagh and Raymie Ryan Lighting, Cashel” and our big match build up gets underway at 2 pm