Tipp Cork, enough said…

The preparation is complete, the teams are picked and the battle lines are drawn. Yes Munster championship kicks off this weekend in Thurles, where Tipp and Cork renew their old rivarly. The weather promises to be good and the hurling also. Will Tipp bring that agreesion that was visible on League final day, will Cork miss the Rock and Joe Deane, will the young O’Hailpín prosper, will Eoin Kelly be fit? Lots of questions, lots of individual battles, typical of Munster championship.

Tipp are coming into this first round after a good display against Kilkenny, even if they lost their league crown. Tipperary people will be encouraged with the intensity and steel which was evident from their team, something which has been missing for some time now. That attitude and intensity must be part of their makeup if they are to become a successful team, it can’t be a once off and, it will definitely be needed if they are to progress on Sunday next. But they also must strike a balance, their hurling ability must come through also.

It will be interesting to see how the Tipp half backs line out, the three of them are probably best at center back. Is Conor O’Mahony’s fitness up to a start on the wing, tracking Ben O’Connor or Timmy McCarthy. A similar question around Declan Fanning, would the running of the of the two wing forwards suit him, probably not.  If one was to think of the future, then Paraic Maher is the best option at 6, play him there and let him grow into it. From the league final, he really looks like he has the makings of a catching center back. So how Tipp line out here, will be interesting. In contrast, Cork will probably not puck a lot of ball out on the Tipp half backs as all three are strong in the air. So expect Donal óg to be looking for his usual short quick puck outs.

The other area of interest is the Cork full back line, two debutants. The full back looks to be a big strong man, a traditional number 3. So to a degree, Micheal Webster will suit him. If you go back to last year and see the damage Lar Corbett did when he was full forward against Sullivan, it would be interesting to place him at the edge of the square for a period on Sunday. Lar has real pace and good hands, something which could really trouble a newcomer.

What about the youngest O’Halpín, a professional athlete for the last nuimber of years and standing 6’6 in height! That size is not easy handle and full backs in general don’t like to be dominated physically. Paul Curran is hurling very well, he has a very good understanding of his position. So this will be a very interesting duel, expect a lot of ball to break off these two, so the corners on both sides could decide how this duel pans out. The corner backs clean up and Tipp will thrive, but if the two corner forwards get onto a few early breaks, it could be a busy day for Curran and co.

A lot also depends on how Tipp manage the famed Cork half back line.  Will Cummins puck much ball on them? I’m sure he will puck towards John O’Brien, see if he can get some clean possesion. I would also expect Calinan to drift and not play the traditional center forward game.  But as everybody knows, if half backs dominate then its the launching pad for success and the Cork half backs have the potential to dominate.

Its a difficult one to call, on form Tipperary would be preferred, but the strike will galvanise Cork and with their vast experience its really in the melting pot and could go either way. Here’s hoping a for a cracker, another one to add to the famed history of Tipp Cork clashes.

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