Rebels losing Murphy tips scales for Limerick
BRIAN Murphy's absence from the Cork team has swung next Sunday's Munster final in Limerick's favour.
If Murphy was available I'd have given Cork a tentative nod. But the defender, who I had some battles with during my career, is a massive loss to the Rebels. He did an exceptional man-marking job on Tony Kelly in the Clare game and was probably earmarked for a similar role on Declan Hannon.
What you'll see from Limerick is a massive intensity and, on Munster final day, home advantage isn't too big a factor. Cork have played two big games at the Gaelic Grounds this year and seem very comfortable in those surroundings. But Cork need the silverware more. Limerick won an U-21 Munster title two years ago and their minors are also in Sunday's provincial final.
But Cork haven't had much recent underage success and it's 2006 since they won a Munster senior title. The future looks bright for Limerick and it's more in Cork's interest to win this one.
The fact that Waterford or Tipp are not involved in a Munster final, something that hasn't happened since 1999, is brilliant and goes to show the value of the Munster championship. Cork beat Clare in their semi-final but the Banner County hit back by scoring 1-32 against Laois on Saturday.
All bar two starters got on the scoresheet and, with Wexford to come next weekend for a place in the quarter-finals, Clare could gather real momentum and find themselves in an All-Ireland semi-final before they know it.