What the Cork hurlers now need to do to stay in the championship

Limerick beat Tipp with a strong second-half showing but every county is still in with a chance of getting out of the Munster series, however slim
What the Cork hurlers now need to do to stay in the championship

Darragh O'Donovan of Limerick is stopped by Conor Stakelum and Ger Browne of Tipperary. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

LIMERICK were pushed to the pin of their collars by Tipperary, despite what the 3-21 to 0-23 scoreline suggests, in Sunday's Munster round-robin clash on Shannonside.

They are, however, all but assured a slot in the Munster hurling final with a game to spare while the Premier are effectively out of contention before their last provincial outing, at home to Cork in two weeks.

Ronan Maher of Tipperary and Kyle Hayes of Limerick get up close and personal. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Ronan Maher of Tipperary and Kyle Hayes of Limerick get up close and personal. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

The All-Ireland champions will travel to Clare next Sunday top of the Munster standings, with three wins from three, followed by the Banner who are two from two.

Waterford have one victory but were beaten by Limerick. They face Cork next weekend and then Clare in Ennis.

Head-to-head results are factored in if two teams finish level on points but if it's three or more, scoring difference comes into the mix. However, unlikely, there could still be a scenario where Limerick, Clare and Waterford are tied, which would see all three progress, the top two on scoring difference into the provincial decider and the third into the qualifiers.

Cork, like Tipp, have yet to win so make the journey to Walsh Park on Sunday knowing a defeat to the Déise will end their campaign prematurely. 

We could still have a situation where Cork, Clare and Waterford (who collide in the last game on May 22) finish on two wins apiece with scoring difference then used to decide who makes it to the Munster final, who comes third and goes into the qualifiers, and who is eliminated. 

All the Rebels must worry about for now is getting the better of Waterford and Liam Cahill, unbeaten at Walsh Park since taking over. Cork were ripped open for four goals by Waterford in the league final and fell short in the last championship encounter too, the 2020 Munster semi-final at Semple Stadium.

Cork manager Kieran Kingston and his selectors are under enormous pressure to reshape the starting 15 and go more direct when their season on the line, while supporters want to see more fire and aggression from the players. In the defeats to Limerick and Clare, the full-back unit was well protected for the most part but Cork conceded far too many shooting chances from distance. 

Even with an extra player in the last quarter against Clare, Cork were unable to put a squeeze on in the middle third. 

CONCERN

A concern for the Leeside faithful watching this battle at TUS Gaelic Grounds was how much more physical than Cork both Tipp and Limerick appeared. Colm Bonnar, overseeing a transitional period for the Premier, was also without Jason Forde and John McGrath through injury.

Aaron Gillane of Limerick is tackled by Seamus Kennedy of Tipperary at TUS Gaelic Grounds. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Aaron Gillane of Limerick is tackled by Seamus Kennedy of Tipperary at TUS Gaelic Grounds. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

They still managed to be extremely competitive throughout, even after Aaron Gillane goaled early, and led by two at the break. 

They kept their noses in front until Diarmaid Byrnes levelled with a 65. Like Cork's loss to Kerry on Saturday in Páirc Uí Rinn, a stronger bench, greater experience, and the difference in class, were all telling come full-time in what was still an engaging joust.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo WISA

Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more