Saturday 24 February 2018

Epic clash on cards at Croker at Cork take on Tipperary

Expect feast of high scoring as Munster giants gear up for historic Jones' Road collision

Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea
Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Cork and Tipperary have met down Jones' Road way before but tomorrow's All-Ireland semi-final will still take its place in history as the first Championship clash between the two Munster giants in Croke Park.

They contested the Munster final in November 1897 on the Jones' Road ground before it was purchased by the GAA and named Croke Park. The switch to Dublin followed a dispute over the venue after a fractious first meeting in Kilmallock was abandoned.

Tipperary won the re-fixed game, a result Eamon O'Shea and his squad hope will replicated tomorrow against a Cork team bidding to complete a clean sweep against Munster opposition, having already beaten Waterford, Clare and Limerick.

A crowd of over 60,000 is expected for what will be the 83rd championship meeting between the counties. The closeness of the rivalry is underlined by previous results, which show wins at 37 each, with seven draws and one abandoned game from 82 clashes.

With with so little between them in the betting (Cork 10/11, Tipperary 11/10), it's clear that the markets have no strong view on who will qualify for a clash with Kilkenny in the final on September 7.

Tipperary beat Cork in their last two championship games in 2011 and 2012, leaving the Rebels seeking their first win since 2010. Tipp also won this year's Allianz League quarter-final in Thurles, beating Jimmy Barry-Murphy's men by three points.

Cork arrive in Croke Park as Munster champions for the first time since 2006 but Tipp will be encouraged by the memory of 2010, when they won the All-Ireland via the qualifiers.

They have averaged a total of 3-22 in their four games, four points ahead of Cork, who have also played four games. Their concession rate is identical on 19 points (Cork 1-19 ,Tipperary 2-16).

It all points to a high-scoring game unless, of course, the weather intervenes in similar fashion to last Sunday when heavy rain kept the scoring unusually low in the Kilkenny-Limerick game.

Throw-in is at 3.30 and the game will be preceded by the minor semi-final between Galway and Limerick (1.30). It has a special significance after the controversy which arose last year when Limerick lost to Galway in extra-time, after having a point ruled wide in normal time. Hawk-Eye was switched off for the senior semi-final.

Irish Independent

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