CORK and Limerick have faced each other in the hurling championship on 15 occasions in the past 30 years, with Cork having the better of the exchanges, winning nine, to Limerick’s four victories, with there being one draw in May 2018.
Limerick are favourites to add to that number on Saturday evening, but a quick look back at these ties shows that it does not always go the way it is expected to.
Famous for that juggled Tomás Mulcahy goal, Cork were crowned Munster Champions that day as Tony O’Sullivan and Barry Egan shared 11 points in what was a great day for city attackers.
A day for ducks as the goals rained down in wintry conditions. Kevin Murray bagged a brace for Cork, but at the other end Gary Kirby and Pat Heffernan scored two each as Limerick triumphed on their way to Munster glory.
A truly horrendous mauling for Cork at the hands of Tom Ryan’s excellent Limerick team of the mid-’90s that really should have won an All-Ireland. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is how JBM turned it around to such an extent that Cork were All-Ireland champions just three years after this horror show.
Recently crowned league champions Cork were looking to bury the ghosts of two years previous at the Gaelic Grounds. Brian Corcoran gave a masterful display at centre-back as Cork recorded their first championship win in six years.
Cork’s young side were All-Ireland Champions and were looking fairly invincible at this juncture. A great Joe Deane goal was key, as Cork won in Thurles to set up a Munster final clash against Tipp.
Up there with the 2018 semi-final in the heartbreak stakes for Cork, as a sublime late Barry Foley sideline cut won it for Limerick. The game will always be remembered for Diarmuid O’Sullivan’s ridiculous point from about 100 yards, which ended up being in vain.
A reversal of the previous year’s result, as Alan Browne’s goal proved crucial for Cork. The O’Connor twins, Ben and Jerry, scored late points that got Cork over the line, as 19-year-old wing-back John Gardiner played a starring role in what was Cork’s last victory before the first strike.
The two-in-a-row effectively started here, on a scorching day at the Gaelic Grounds, that will be remembered for the amazing point that the returning Brian Corcoran scored while on his knees, just moments after his introduction.
Ben O’Connor and Joe Deane scored five points each in this narrow victory, but it will forever be remembered for the moment when Cork full-back Diarmuid O’Sullivan trotted up to take a late penalty only to be confronted by a posse of Limerick players who had spotted the Cummins sliotar down the back of the Rock’s shorts that he intended to use. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to take the penalty in the end, but Cork hung on, just.
Eoin Cadogan and Patrick Horgan are survivors from this easy win for the Rebels, with Horgan banging in a penalty in the triumph. Interestingly Graeme Mulcahy slotted three points for Limerick that day, while Nicky Quaid made his championship debut off the bench at wing forward.
An extremely harsh red card issued to Cork’s Patrick Horgan effectively decided this Munster Final at the Gaelic Grounds, as Limerick’s current captain Declan Hannon, who was then more renowned as an attacker, helped himself to eight points.
Munster final revenge for Cork, as they made up for the defeat of twelve months earlier, with goals from Seamus Harnedy and Paudie O’Sullivan proving crucial as Cork’s half-forward line of Lehane, Harnedy and Cooper did wreck.
In what was effectively the first meeting between the current sides, they could not be separated in this Munster championship round-robin tie at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, with a late Kyle Hayes point ensuring John Kiely’s men left with what looked an unlikely point after Aaron Gillane was given a straight red card for striking Sean O’Donoghue in the first half.
Ecstasy for Limerick, in a result that effectively launched this side to stardom, while for Cork it was heartbreak, and a game that Cork hurling has arguably never truly recovered from.
That block by Quaid on Harnedy. Hoggie hitting the post. Pretty much everything Limerick hit flying over, or indeed, under towards the end.
The last championship meeting between the pair was just over two years ago, and it is Cork who surprised the All-Ireland Champions with a scintillating performance at the Gaelic Grounds, with Horgan’s second-half goal proving crucial to the triumph.
The big question is, can Cork dig out a similar performance this weekend?