Three reasons Cork are back in the All-Ireland hurling final

Rebels face Limerick in two weeks at Croke Park
Three reasons Cork are back in the All-Ireland hurling final

Mark Coleman of Cork celebrates with selector Diarmuid O'Sullivan. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Bench impact

The last time Cork played in an All-Ireland semi-final, against Limerick in 2018, the game also went to extra time but the Shannonsiders’ substitutes had a pivotal impact. Here, Cork’s replacements outscored their Kilkenny counterparts by 0-11 to 0-1 – as well as Shane Kingston’s incredible seven-point haul, Alan Cadogan had three (with one unlucky not to be a goal) while Declan Dalton had the Rebels’ final point. By the end, Cork’s midfield pairing was Damien Cahalane and Darragh Fitzgibbon, who had earlier been substituted.

Momentum

Kilkenny’s last game before yesterday was the Leinster final win over Dublin on July 17, while it was Cork’s third since then, having beaten Clare and the Dubs in the interim. There was of course the possibility that that could translate into freshness for Brian Cody’s side with Cork looking leggy, but the belief and confidence gained from this victories was harnessed well, as shown by the way the disappointment of being pulled back in normal time was brushed aside.

Match-ups

Kilkenny’s talisman TJ Reid managed just one point from play, successfully bottled up by Ger Millerick and then, after the Fr O’Neills man departed injured, Eoin Cadogan. Robert Downey started well on Billy Ryan and, while the number 12 had points in the second quarter, the Glen Rovers man was dominant thereafter. Mark Coleman – not considered a marker – dealt with John Donnelly, who was withdrawn, with Niall O’Leary and Seán O’Donoghue continued to show the form that has brought them this far.


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