THE Cork hurlers face All-Ireland and Munster champions Limerick in the provincial semi-final this summer, with Tipperary against the winners of Clare-Waterford on the other side of the draw.
Last season Cork fell to Waterford in the Munster semi-final, before bouncing back to beat Dublin and getting eliminated by Tipperary in the qualifiers.
Kieran Kingston's side will be underdogs taking on the Shannonsiders, though generally, Cork and Limerick battles have been extremely close in recent seasons.
In the last championship meeting in 2019, the Rebels were victorious in the Gaelic Grounds, while in 2018 the counties drew at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the Munster round-robin before a Limerick win after extra time in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park.
The Cork footballers will face the winners of Waterford and Limerick in the Munster semi-final this summer.
The Rebels were handed a very favourable draw this morning when Clare and Kerry were first out of the hat and then pitted against Tipperary, which puts Cork against Waterford or Limerick.
The Kingdom will be fancied to make the provincial decider, and if Cork also progress, that game would be in Killarney in July.
Last winter Cork stunned Kerry at Páirc Uí Chaoimh when Mark Keane struck for the winning goal with the last kick of the game.
Unfortunately, they couldn't cope with the tag of favourites in the subsequent Munster final against a fired-up Tipp, who deservedly lifted the title and moved into the All-Ireland series. Like 2020, there's no room for error in the championship, with the safety net of the qualifiers gone.
Cork have three league games against Clare, Laois and Kildare coming up in Division 2 South, as well as a promotion or relegation play-off against a county from Division 2 North, Mayo, Meath, Down or Westmeath.
Their preparation has been hindered by the suspension of manager Ronan McCarthy for 12 weeks as a consequence of a session held at Youghal beach at the start of the year, which breached GAA's training ban due to Covid.
Neutral venues expected for @MunsterGAA Hurling Cship which would mean Thurles for @OfficialCorkGAA v @LimerickCLG in Football home and away to apply.— Finbarr Mc Carthy (@FiFinnymac) April 19, 2021
If @OfficialCorkGAA v @LimerickCLG it’s in Limerick if @WaterfordGAA @PaircUiCha0imh will be the venue. pic.twitter.com/kIUC1Z8xCX
Clare v Waterford;
Tipperary v Clare or Waterford; Cork v Limerick.
Clare v Kerry; Waterford v Limerick;
Tipperary v Clare or Kerry; Cork v Waterford or Limerick.