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Rebels revival to bear fruit with scalp of Waterford


(Semple Stadium, Tomorrow 4.0, live RTé2)

AS Roy Keane might muse: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. His stick-wielding fellow county men in the Cork hurling set-up have spent the year waxing lyrical about their own build-up for this year's championship.

And given the obviously shoddy preparations they were forced to undergo during Gerald McCarthy's reign, who exactly could blame them?

Even through the dark days of the past three years, the belief was always there that Cork could be the one team to challenge Kilkenny's dominance if they got a decent run at it and at this point in the season, there's plenty of merit to that argument.

Things haven't been so rosy in planet Waterford, though. Davy Fitzgerald's recent plea to the Déise county board to postpone a third successive week of senior club championship fixtures fell on deaf ears and it has affected his own preparations for tomorrow's Munster hurling final.

"I think it was well documented that I was looking for a break," said Fitzgerald afterwards.

"How can you ask players to train four nights a week? You can't. I would be disappointed in one or two people's comments inside at the county board meeting. One or two people maybe talk a lot inside there for the sake of talking."

Not a good sign when the county board and the manager are at odds, but if Waterford were to win a Munster title tomorrow he would surely be flavour of the month again.

Cork, though, are entering a new peak in their amazing cycle. Defensively, they have a harder edge and the variety in their use of the ball makes it difficult for anyone to fully get to grips with beating them.

It mightn't be the sort of thriller these teams have thrown up so often in the past decade but Cork should reassert their dominance over the Déise.

ODDS: Cork 1/ 2, Draw 10/1, Waterford 15/8


CORK: D Óg Cusack; S O'Neill, E Cadogan, B Murphy; J Gardiner, R Curran, S Óg Ó hAilpín; T Kenny, C Naughton; B O'Connor, J O'Connor, N McCarthy; K Murphy, A Ó hAilpín, P Horgan.