TIPPERARY manager, Liam Kearns, believes the bookies have got it right by making Cork the marginal 8/11 favourites to win their Munster football semi-final at Pairc Ui Rinn on Saturday week.
That’s despite the Rebels just surviving a major fright in the 1-12 to 1-11 win over a battling Waterford in Dungarvan at the weekend.
It’s a repeat of last season’s encounter at the same stage, when Tipp caused a major upset and ended up playing in an All-Ireland semi-final later.
“Cork are the favourites because of the advantages they have just like we had last season when we had the benefit of a championship match and were also playing at home.
“You can't under-estimate the benefit of playing a game in the championship and we also had the element of surprise. We came in under the radar a bit.
“Cork will be playing at home, having played in division two to our division three. They will also have the motivation of last year and it's up to us now to find another level and show last year wasn't a fluke. We have to be able to back it up.
“Plus we're missing Peter Acheson and Kevin McDonald, two of the best players ever to line out for Tipp,” Kearns added.
Cork, who struggled against Waterford’s defensive approach, regularly pulling all 15 players behind the half-way line, also have issues.
Important midfielder Alan O’Connor is suspended after being shown a straight red card while Aidan Walsh is in a race against to be fit after limping off after only 10 minutes with a hamstring injury.
Selector Eoin O’Neill admitted Cork will have to improve significantly, particularly in attack, where they registered 13 wides and missed three clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities.
“We’re relieved to have won because the game was in the melting pot with 10 minutes to go, but we won and we’ll move on,” he said.