THE CORK hurlers are guaranteed at least one game in the All-Ireland series after their Munster Championship campaign ends.
It’s a similar story for Clare and Limerick after the elimination of Tipperary and Waterford at their hands yesterday.
Cork play Waterford next Sunday in the final game of the Round-Robin series while Clare will host Limerick and the outcome of those games will decide who contests the Munster final a fortnight later.
A Cork victory over a Waterford team that has nothing but pride to play for now will ensure that John Meyler’s team will be one of the finalists.
A win or draw for current table-toppers Limerick in Ennis against the home county will ensure that they too will make the final. However, a Clare victory and they will be in the final.
Cork could lose to Waterford and if Limerick defeated Clare, the Rebels would still be in the Munster decider on the basis of their head-to-head win over the Banner.
So, it is still all to play for where the three top counties are concerned, it’s just a matter of deciding the placings.
The Munster final winners will go straight through to the All-Ireland semi-final with the losers going into a quarter-final.
The third team will play in an All-Ireland preliminary round and that will be against one of the Joe McDonagh Cup finalists: Carlow or Westmeath.
The main talking point of the weekend was the elimination of Tipperary from the championship after their defeat by Clare in a compelling encounter at Semple Stadium.
The home team led for almost the entire game but a late, late rally by the Banner county gave them the victory.
Tipp, second favourites in the All-Ireland race behind Galway before the season began failed to win any of their four games in the province and there will be increased speculation now regarding team boss Michael Ryan’s future.
Waterford failed to win a game too and it’s now likely that Derek McGrath will be taking charge of the county team for the last time next Sunday.
It’s likely to be ‘Brick’ Walsh’s last game too in a Waterford jersey. He will become the most ‘capped’ inter-county hurler of all time if he features in the game, making his 73rd appearance in the Déise jersey, one ahead of Tipp’s Brendan Cummins.