Tipperary have the quality to test Kilkenny
TIPPERARY were tested to the limit by Cork yesterday, with experience seeing the reigning Munster champions home.
They can take a lot from the hard-fought win. They have been in the last three All Ireland finals and you can see that they still have what it takes and can put it up to Kilkenny.
Cork will be disappointed to lose, but they have plenty to draw on from the performance. Up front, Jamie Coughlan, Paudie O'Sullivan and Patrick Horgan were all dangerous in the full-forward line and Tipperary won't be happy with their full-back line.
But elsewhere there were plenty of strong displays with Shane McGrath unbelievable at midfield -- he had a great game. Patrick 'Bonner' Maher did a lot of work, while Pa Bourke stood up to the frees and Noel McGrath got the scores. They finished very strongly.
I thought Declan Ryan could have taken John O'Brien off, but he was left out there and picked up a second yellow and he had to go. It was a vital time, but after getting the goal they were pushing on at that stage.
Tipp showed their mettle by hanging on. They haven't won very often down in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and you could see from their reaction that it meant a lot to them.
There has been talk of discontent in the camp, but now they have come from behind twice to win.
They worked their socks off yesterday and are back where they want to be.
If they had lost this game, it would have taken a lot more out of them than it would have Cork.
They have great depth, they could bring on dangerous players like Lar Corbett, Shane Bourke and Eoin Kelly in a similar way to Kilkenny.
Despite losing, Cork came of age yesterday. If they get a home tie out of this morning's draw, then nobody will want to face them.
They are good hurlers, lovely wrist hurlers, and they are not far off. If Niall McCarthy can come back, then that will add to their half-forward line and they showed at the end that their league final performance was not a true reflection.
Dublin can take solace from the way Cork bounced back from a heavy defeat to Kilkenny and they did something similar last year to run Tipperary close in the All Ireland semi-final.
The Cats are different. The one common denominator is that it is the All-Ireland champions who are dishing out punishments to their rivals and the other teams are just not as good as them.
Dublin will regroup and if they can get a home draw, nobody will fancy playing them.
Kilkenny were awesome, there were no ifs or buts about this emphatic display.
Henry Shefflin was back on free-taking duties, despite the fact that Richie Power and Eoin Larkin had done well from placed balls during the league. Brian Cody handed the responsibility back to him and he stepped up again.
Their forwards looked dangerous, while JJ Delaney at full back, Brian Hogan, TJ Reid and Richie Power were all outstanding.
Dublin will be very disappointed.
It is one thing to get beaten, but their performance was so terrible -- they will be disgusted with themselves.
Taking a beating is part of hurling, but we were expecting Dublin to be up for Saturday's clash and they didn't appear to be.
Their first touch and line balls were off, -- they just couldn't do anything right. Kilkenny just seemed to get to them.
The battle never materialised. Dublin are supposed to be a team who pride themselves on their physicality, but they never showed up. Whatever was wrong there was nothing there at all, they were very flat.
I'd imagine Anthony Daly would have brought them back in yesterday morning in order to prevent a vacuum developing.
They will now face Cork or Clare and it will be hard to pick them up, but they need to remember that they won't be facing Kilkenny, who, when they have a cause, can do such damage.
They did the same to Galway, the same to Cork and they put teams away. Psychologically, they have it over their opponents.