CORK and Tipperary minor hurlers get to do it all again tonight as 80 minutes couldn’t separate in their Munster semi-final clash last Thursday night.
A goal in the last minute of extra-time, from Evan Sheehan, saw Cork get a draw they fully deserved and it would have been a shame had there been a loser on the night.
Like all replays, with throw-in at 7.30pm at Páirc Uí Rinn, they tend to take on a life of their own and sometimes one side runs away with it.
The Rebels will be hoping that home advantage will be the added factor that might help to see them through. Have no doubt the crowd will be swelled in numbers as word will have spread of just how good a game the drawn encounter was.
Judging by that it’s difficult to see either side winning by more than a few points, as they are evenly matched teams.
Up front, Brian Turnbull led the Cork attack in style, with Robert Downey chipping in with points at a crucial time in the last few minutes to ensure it went to extra-time.
Sheehan, by his own standards, had a quite game, but it showed the calibre of the young player to step up and take the free at the end, knowing he had to goal for Cork to get a replay.
Have no doubt this will have him in confident form going into the replay and you can expect a lot more from him.
Defensively Sean O’Leary-Hayes will have his hands full with Tipp dangerman, Anthony McKelvey, but he handled him well the last day.
Cork will also have to keep a close eye on Jake Morris and Darragh Woods, who surely did enough when he came on to get a starting spot tonight.
Will that be enough? It’s impossible to call the replay. Hopefully the home crowd might help swing it for Cork to set up a clash against Clare on Sunday next. It would be a long-overdue victory, given the county’s nine-year absence from the Munster minor final.
Cork’s 32nd Munster title arrived in 2008 when Ciarán Sheehan, Aidan Walsh and Mark Collins were dual stars. Whatever about the failure to add to that total since, especially as Limerick, Waterford and Clare have become far more competitive, the Rebels’ inability to even make the provincial final summed up the county’s demise.
Tipp were Munster minor kingpins in 2012, 15 and 16, Clare back-to-back winners in 2010 and 11, Waterford on top in 2009 – with the 2013 All-Ireland through the backdoor – with Limerick lifting the crown in 2013 and 14.
In 2009 Cork drew with Tipp 5-17 apiece in the Páirc before crashing to a 2-21 to 1-12 loss in a replay where John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer top-scored.
In 2010 Cork pulled off a 2-31 to 4-22 victory on Leeside after extra-time in an insane shootout where Conor Lehane landed 0-6 and Bud Harnett 1-14 against a Premier team featuring Dan McCormack, Seamus Kennedy, Niall O’Meara and Jason Forde. Neither side made the Munster final though, Tony Kelly and Podge Collins’ Clare defeating Pauric Mahony’s Waterford on that occasion.
Tipp brushed the Rebels aside in 2011, despite the efforts of Alan Cadogan, Colm Spillane and Darren Sweetnam (remember him!), but the counties didn’t meet again for four seasons until last year’s intriguing clash at Páirc Uí Rinn when Cork were outmuscled in the second half.
So there is a lot at stake tonight for the Rebels and hopefully they can join the senior side in Thurles next Sunday.