Tipperary v Cork: Kieran Kingston calls for big push from Rebels

“If you have a group going on the field giving it their all, obviously for each other and for Cork and Cork hurling, to keep themselves in the season – when you’ve that kind of application and effort and honesty, you always have a chance."
Tipperary v Cork: Kieran Kingston calls for big push from Rebels

Cork manager Kieran Kingston appeals to the referee during Waterford win. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

CORK will seek to create Munster SHC history at FBD Semple Stadium tomorrow as they clash with Tipperary with a place in the All-Ireland series on the line.

In the round-robin era – admittedly a small sample size, as the pandemic-influenced championships of 2020 and 2021 mean this is just the third under the new format – no Munster county has lost their opening two games and still made it through to the knockout stage.

After losses to Limerick and Clare, Cork’s prospects appeared bleak but last Sunday’s win over Waterford in Walsh Park has put them in a situation where any victory against the Premier County will suffice.

However, a win is not to be taken for granted as Tipp are still in with a slight chance too, despite defeats in each of their first three matches. Ultimately, Cork will be looking for more of the same, with manager Kieran Kingston impressed at how the team worked last week.

“I think our application was excellent,” he said.

We hunted in our packs and applied ourselves as a group. Collectively, every player that played any time in the game, they gave it their all.

“If you have a group going on the field giving it their all, obviously for each other and for Cork and Cork hurling, to keep themselves in the season – when you’ve that kind of application and effort and honesty, you always have a chance.

“On Sunday, we got that and the result took care of itself.”

Cork's Conor Cahalane and Tim O'Mahony celebrate after last Sunday's Munster SHC win over Waterford. Picture: Inpho/Ken Sutton
Cork's Conor Cahalane and Tim O'Mahony celebrate after last Sunday's Munster SHC win over Waterford. Picture: Inpho/Ken Sutton

Kingston created his own little bit of history as he became the first Cork manager to be yellow-carded, referee James Owens sanctioning him for dissent. While he wouldn’t comment on that incident, Cork were on the wrong side of a 20-8 free-count and, but for some wayward Waterford dead balls in the second half, that could have proven costly.

In a way, the passion shown by Kingston and selector Pat Mulcahy on the sideline helped to transmit to players and supporters the need for a collective effort but the hope in the camp will be that the calls by Dublin referee Seán Stack tomorrow won’t be as ire-provoking.

Given the quick turnaround, and the availability of Ger Millerick after a hamstring injury, changes are possible. Last week, Luke Meade came in for his first start of the championship and impressed, underlining the importance of squad depth.

“You’re always going to have changes in your panel,” Kingston said, “changes in your system, changes in your team, relative to the opposition you’re playing, where you’re playing and the significance of the game.

ADAPTABILITY

“It’s not just about the same 15 players all the time – you have to have a consistency in terms of 11 or 12 players but, tactically, and those involved in coaching and managing at this level will know, you’re going to have changes from game to game, opposition to opposition, depending on how you want to approach the game.

“That’s then about trying to have the right players in the right places, performing to the adequate level at the right time. 

It’s not just saying, ‘They’re the same 15 players every time you go out,’ that doesn’t happen in the modern game.”

The travelling support to Waterford was small in number but made itself heard at crucial times. Given that the outlook is brighter than before the Déise clash, it is hoped that there will be more Cork fans in Thurles – those travelling should note that the game is preceded by the All-Ireland U20 hurling final between Limerick and Kilkenny.

Having that 16th player in the stands is something Kingston feels could be key.

“As I said after the game on Sunday, and players commented on it afterwards,” he said, “when the game was coming down the stretch and it was really in the melting pot, the last 15 or 20 minutes, the Cork crowd were amazing.

“That’s not lost on the players, it’s like an extra man coming down the stretch, especially when you’re away from home against a top team like Waterford.

“It’ll be the same thing on Sunday, we’ll be against a top team in Tipperary, again away from home, where they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

“We’re going to need the same kind of support again.”

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