Monday 22 December 2014

Cyril Farrell: Kilkenny just won't make the same mistakes Cork did

Cyrill Farrell

Published 18/08/2014 | 02:30

17 August 2014; Paddy Stapleton, Tipperary, in action against Patrick Horgan, Cork. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Cork v Tipperary. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
17 August 2014; Paddy Stapleton, Tipperary, in action against Patrick Horgan, Cork. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Cork v Tipperary. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

What a performance by Tipperary. They were exceptional. They got their match-ups right all over the pitch but Cork will be very disappointed in themselves.

Cork sat back and let Tipp play and you just can't afford to do that at this level. Darren Gleeson's puck-outs had a major say in that and I think this will be the game that people look back on as the one when he came of age.

His puck-outs had a lovely trajectory to them and when you have a goalkeeper with that sort of ability, it gives you a huge advantage.

It took Cork far too long to rectify their problems and by the time that they showed any signs of doing it, Tipp were out of sight.

Cork were only two points down at half-time but if they had taken their chances they could have been ahead. 16 wides in total - nine of which came in that first half - doesn't look good whatever way you look at it.

Shrewd

Eamon O'Shea deserves a lot of credit for switching Noel McGrath and 'Bonner' Maher in the second half. He tried to play it down after the game but it really was a shrewd move that paid off.

McGrath came out to centre-forward and Maher went into the corner and Cork really struggled to get to grips with both of them and 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer.

The forward line never stopped moving and they were all hungry for possession. It looked like Tipp wanted it much more and that's ultimately why they're the ones heading to the final.

Tipp scored 2-18, and 2-17 of that total came from play - that's incredible stuff. Their passing was crisp, sharp and above all accurate, and that allowed them plenty of freedom around the pitch.

Shane McGrath and James Woodlock scored six points between them and they really bossed midfield. It's going to be some match-up against Kilkenny.

Some people will point to Cork's lack of game time as some sort of excuse but I don't buy that for a second. Kilkenny have been doing it for years and it has never stopped them being successful. It's something you have to learn to deal with and on the evidence of yesterday Cork have some way to go before rectifying that.

I'm almost running out of superlatives for Seamus Callanan - the man is a colossus. I was sure he was going to tap the ball over the bar in the build-up to his first goal but his finish was exceptional.

Anthony Nash had no chance - there isn't a goalkeeper in the county who would have saved it. And Callanan's second goal really was the final nail in Cork's coffin.

Tipp won't fear Kilkenny in the slightest but it works both ways. The two counties have a huge rivalry, which will add to the occasion. In the 17 All-Ireland finals that they've played, Tipp have won 10 of them.

There is no way Kilkenny will make the same mistakes that Cork did yesterday. They'll front up to them and won't allow them the kind of room that they had.

You'd have to say that Cork's missed chances in the first half really drained them. Had they taken their chances, it would have been an altogether different story but like last year, their campaign has ended in bitter disappointment.

Tipp came in for plenty of stick when they lost to Limerick earlier in the year but they've bounced back in great style. They haven't won anything yet but for me, they've proven themselves - going on to win the title would be the icing on the cake.

Kilkenny are still the team to beat, though. They're the ones who are constantly setting the benchmark. Clare had their day in the sun last year and Kilkenny have come roaring back and are now back where they feel that they belong.

Tipp will have to play well to beat Kilkenny - there's no doubt about it - but going on yesterday's display, they're more than capable of doing it.

If Noel McGrath keeps up the kind of form that he's shown all year, he'll have a major say in the final. He's an artist and definitely one of the best hurlers in the country.

Tipp will be looking for a fast start again and if they get it, Kilkenny will have a huge task on their hands.

Limerick minors must cut out showboating

This Limerick team are one of the best minor teams I've seen in a long time. Every time I see them, they impress me more and more.

They're certainly good enough to go on and win the title now and that would be such a massive lift for the county after the disappointing ending to the seniors' campaign.

They have a lot of lovely wristy hurlers and I expect to see a few of them forcing their way into the senior panel next year.

Ronan Lynch (above) is a player who has a very bright future ahead of him. He's the real deal. He scored 13 points yesterday and he's the sort of player that Limerick fans can genuinely feel excited about.

TJ Ryan has an excellent set-up in place and these young lads coming through are in good hands, which in itself is a major cause for optimism.

For Galway, they have to put their hands up and admit that they were beaten by a far superior team. They were out-hurled and out-manoeuvred in every department. They just weren't good enough - simple as that.

Kilkenny will be a tougher test for Limerick and given that they had two schools competing in the All-Ireland final, they'll be quietly confident.

The main thing that Limerick need to take from yesterday's win is that they must cut out the showboating.

They should be more concerned with finishing games strongly and making sure that they put it to bed as early as they can.

They did it against Waterford as well and it meant that they had to replay the game. They can't afford to do it and the management need to drill that into them.

If they do, they'll be tough to stop in the final.

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