Cork hurlers return to Thurles on Saturday for knockout clash with Dublin

Cork hurlers return to Thurles on Saturday for knockout clash with Dublin

James Madden of Dublin is tackled by Conor Lehane of Cork in the hurling qualifier at Páirc Uí Rinn in 2016. The counties meet again next weekend. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

THE Cork hurlers have been drawn against Dublin in the first round of the qualifiers next weekend.

Kieran Kingston's side will meet the Leinster outfit in Thurles at 3.45pm on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Mix, the Cork footballers host Kerry at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the Munster semi-final on Sunday, 4pm.

Cork were hugely disappointing against Waterford in a four-point loss, while Dublin come into the game on the back of a win over Laois and a loss to Kilkenny, where they battled back from 15 points down at half-time to draw level before being pipped in injury time.

Eamon Dillon of Dublin shoots to score a goal at Croke Park. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Eamon Dillon of Dublin shoots to score a goal at Croke Park. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Clare will face Laois in the other first round qualifier, with Tipperary and Wexford getting byes into round two. A draw will take place after next weekend's games for the pairings in that phase, with the two sides who emerge from the backdoor taking on the runners-up from the provincial finals in the quarter-finals.

Limerick will be favourites against Waterford in the Munster decider while it's Galway against Kilkenny in Leinster.

The GAA will avoid repeat pairings in those matches so if Cork can get to the quarter-final stage and Limerick defeat Waterford, the Rebels would take on the Leinster final losers.

Cork were missing Darragh Fitzgibbon, Eoin Cadogan, Colm Spillane and Aidan Walsh through injury against the Déise and whether they're available or not next weekend, the selectors need to make a few changes to reboot their season. Only Patrick Horgan, Mark Coleman and Shane Kingston hurled close to their best in the loss in Thurles. 

Shane Kingston of Cork in action against Jamie Barron and Kevin Moran of Waterford. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Shane Kingston of Cork in action against Jamie Barron and Kevin Moran of Waterford. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Cork and Dublin last met in championship in the 2016 qualifier at Páirc Uí Rinn in Kingston's first stint in charge. Current Rebel selector Ger Cunningham was in charge of the Dubs at the time, who gave Cork their fill of it, despite being away from home and losing Chris Crummey to a second yellow card.

It finished 1-26 to 1-23, with Alan Cadogan giving a Man of the Match display to the tune of 1-5 from play, and Horgan lancing over 0-12. 

Aidan Walsh of Cork in action against Ryan O'Dwyer in 2016. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Aidan Walsh of Cork in action against Ryan O'Dwyer in 2016. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Mark Ellis, Killian Burke, Cormac Murphy, William Egan, Luke O'Farrell, Aidan Walsh and John Cronin all started that day for Cork, with Conor O'Sullivan, Daniel Kearney and Brian Lawton introduced. 

While the match won't have any direct bearing on next weekend's encounter, the Dubs would probably have won if they weren't down to 14 for the second half.

It was a similar story in 2013 when a red card for Ryan O'Dwyer in the second half swung the All-Ireland semi-final Cork's way. 

Under current manager Mattie Kenny, who led Cuala to an All-Ireland club crown, Dublin will feel the time has come to make a statement in the qualifiers. 

Eoin O'Donnell, Danny Sutcliffe, Crummey, Eamonn Dillon and Donal Burke, who has Cork roots in Castlemartyr, are among the players Cork will have to curb to progress.

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