Cork U20s can avenge bitter Munster final loss to Tipp after classic clash

Cork U20s can avenge bitter Munster final loss to Tipp after classic clash
Ahead of the Bord Gáis Energy U20 final were Cork captain James Keating and Tipperary captain Craig Morgan. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile


All-Ireland U20 final: Tipperary v Cork, Limerick, 6pm.

WE WERE down this road 12 months ago, the Munster champions facing the team that they defeated in the provincial final in the All-Ireland final.

Cork got badly stung last season when they lost the far more important game after demolishing the same team in the Munster final.

Tipp are now occupying the position that Cork occupied in the Gaelic Grounds, trying to do the double on their great rivals.

And, of course, after the events of last Sunday trying to complete the big double of the senior and U20 titles.

They will be fully aware that Cork are now the wounded animal that they were last season and we all know the danger that wounded animals present.

There will have been some hype in Tipperary all week and this crop of U20 players will be hoping that it will be a case of a rising tide lifting all boats.

The difference between the sides in the Munster final earlier in the Summer was wafer thin, Tipp edging it with a last-gasp goal by Jake Morris.

That provincial final was in stark contrast to 12 months earlier when Cork trounced their arch rivals by a margin that went into double figures.

Since the sides last met, Cork took care of business against the Leinster champions Kilkenny while Tipp routed Wexford in the other semi-final, scoring eight goals in the process.

On that basis, Tipp are entitled to carry the favourites tag although they would argue that in trying to predict the outcome should be based entirely on what transpired in the Munster final.

Cork would have been desperately disappointed to have lost that final, the manner of it all the more so after scoring a late goal to go up by two points and almost immediately concede one at the other end to give Tipp the win.

Cork recovered very well after that crushing loss and impressed in the defeat of Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final, particularly in defence where you had all six putting their shoulder to the wheel.

Ger Millerick did an excellent marking job on Adrian Mullen while Conor O’Callaghan and Sean O’Leary-Hayes made huge contributions too.

If one was to find fault with the display on the day it was the fact that there was an over-dependency on Tommy O’Connell to secure scores.

He delivered 1-10 of their 1-16 final tally and there will be a need tomorrow for him to receive greater assistance from some of those around him.

Brian Turnbull and Shane O’Regan are two that quite capable of that with O’Regan getting some big scores in the Munster campaign.

A big return will be expected too from the highly talented Daire Connery while the Roche brothers, Eoin and Brian are key members of the side too.

Tipp had three players hitting a brace of goals each in the win over Wexford, Jerome Cahill, Andrew Ormonde and Billy Symour.

Morris came in last Sunday in Croke Park and got on the scoresheet so confidence levels will be sky high for his expected repeat joust with Millerick.

Paddy Caddell marshals the defence very well and this Tipperary team is far more highly rated than the one of 12 months ago.

Cork, to be fair, have done most things right up to this stage, apart from conceding that late, late goal in the Munster final.

In the games against Clare and Limerick they finished very well and have been through quite a lot in this campaign.

Tipp are sure to have the backing of a huge support after last Sunday but Cork will match that.

Support for younger players can help in reaching greater heights when a game is delicately balanced.

Cork have got that Munster final loss out of their system and revenge can be a huge motivating factor.

There are potential match-winners on both sides and forwards who can make all the difference.

Tipp were very clinical against Wexford and looked a team of unstoppable hurlers but then again Wexford just lay down in defence.

Tipp have scored a lot of goals in this campaign and preventing them from adding to that impressive statistic will be prioritised by the Cork management.

In what is sure to be a red hot atmosphere, a good start will be crucial and maintaining that type of momentum throughout.

Tipp will be aware of O’Connell’s superb form against Kilkenny and everybody has to stand up and be counted on days like this.

Tipp are favourites but that brings its own pressure as does the fact of what happened last Sunday in Dublin.

Impossible really to predict but maybe it’s going to be the reverse of last year when both counties ended up with a trophy, Tipp, of course, with the more important one.

Cork are more than capable of taking it off them tomorrow.

Verdict: Cork after another humdinger.

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