Cork and Tipp could renew their rivalry in the All-Ireland decider

Cork and Tipp could renew their rivalry in the All-Ireland decider
Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

THERE are no guarantees, Kilkenny and Wexford will have plenty to say on the matter, but an U20 rematch between and Cork and Tipp would be an All-Ireland final cracker. 

Tipperary won the provincial battle at Semple Stadium on Tuesday night but there’s an All-Ireland war to be fought over the coming weeks and it will be no great surprise if it takes another hour’s hurling to determine which of the two are still standing after that.

Kilkenny and Wexford produced a decent hour’s hurling in the Leinster final at Wexford Park last week with Kilkenny eventually proving the superior force but it wasn’t a patch on what Tipp and Cork produced in Thurles on Tuesday night.

The overall standard, intensity and pace of the game was well up on the previous week’s effort and as a spectacle it was well ahead.

Of course, things can change very quickly from one week to the next across the sporting landscape and particularly so in a game of hurling.

In the Munster senior championship this year we had Tipp turning Limerick over in the Round-Robin section and a few weeks later Limerick reversing the result in scintillating fashion and in a way that nobody had envisaged.

The roles are reversed now in the U20 championship, Cork have been dethroned as Munster champions and it’s Tipp who are there to be knocked off their pedestal if they meet again as they did in the Gaelic Grounds a year ago.

Tuesday night’s final in Thurles was in stark contrast to the final of 12 months ago in so far as it was a humdinger from the outset in comparison to the lopsided affair in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

In fact, did the players even know that there was an alternative route to be travelled such was their endeavour throughout the 60 minutes.

This grade of hurling for as long as we can remember is much different in so far as players are allowed to express themselves to a far greater degree and are not curtailed by tactics and systems so prevalent now at senior level.

Cork went into the game as the more battle hardened unit because of the two games they had with Limerick and Clare.

Tipp, on the other hand, just strolled through their hour with Waterford.

But it mattered little as both sides went at it hammer and tongs as if there was no tomorrow This was another illustration of the rivalry that is Cork and Tipperary hurling, it is ageless and will remain so as long as the game is played.

And where both counties are concerned, is there a better way of coming out of one of their jousts just a point ahead on your home turf after securing a last-gasp goal.

It was a steal, no doubt about that and it will hurt on Leeside for a few days.

Not, however, as much as it would have if the road had ended here.

Both sides shot quite a few wides in the early sequences before they got down to the real serious business.

Conor Bowe was Tipperary’s best forward, his 1-4 return proving that.

Sean Twomey from Courcey Rovers was Cork’s best with two points less and another standout feature of the game was the battle that raged between Ger Millerick and Jake Morris which had the Corkp layer well in front until Morris delivered that final round blow when he got clear of the Cork defence.

Shane O’Regan added three more points to his championship tally, making it 1-14 now in three games and his withdrawal midway through the second-half with injury is a concern for the August weekend and the collision with Kilkenny Brian Turnbull was policed well enough but again there was enough evidence to suggest this fellow will be wearing a senior jersey sooner rather than later.

There’s a lot of hurling to be played in this grade yet but the possibility remains that we could have a repeat of the Munster final or the Leinster final in the All-Ireland final.

The greater likelihood on Tuesday night’s evidence is that it will be a repeat of the Munster final.

But who knows and in this game you never know.

But if it was Cork and Tipp again in a second instalment expect at least double the 9,000 plus attendance of Tuesday night.


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