John Horgan on hurling: Tipp test will show if Cork's young hurlers can shine this summer

Pat Ryan's side were well over Waterford but the Premier will be a step above
John Horgan on hurling: Tipp test will show if Cork's young hurlers can shine this summer

Cork's Tommy O’Connell was impressive against Waterford. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

IN any competition that features a group stage, one victory guarantees nothing going forward but what that victory does is that it provides that extra bit of momentum for the next assignment.

So, from that perspective, Cork and Tipperary will be in a good place going into their eagerly anticipated collision at Pairc Ui Chaoimh tomorrow night.

Because of their storied history, any meeting of the great Munster rivals generates that bit more interest and for the older generation this latest instalment in the long-running saga will bring back memories of days now long past when you had 60,000 crammed into the Gaelic Grounds or in Tom Semple's field in Thurles.

But, as an old colleague of mine continuously reminds me, there is no future in looking back and it's all very much about the here and now.

When the counties last clashed in the provincial championship arena it was a game that Tipp fans, in particular, quickly wanted to forget.

Given how poorly they had performed in their three previous championship games they needed a miracle of all miracles to extend their Summer campaign and for their supporters, it was very much a case of pulling down the curtain on what had been a forgettable couple of weeks.

How different it is now, you cannot be writing a whole pile into one victory but under new team boss, Liam Cahill the direction the team are travelling in seems to be much more positive.

The same scenario applies to Cork and it's set up very nicely now for the two as they go in search of two more championship points.

Tipp might have a little bit more momentum as their opening-day victory over Clare was achieved at a venue that has a history of not being kind to visiting teams.

Maybe some are putting too much store into that victory considering that three of the five goals they executed that day were all but gifted to them.

But the bottom line was, they did score them and they ended up with five attached to their name.

Conversely, they conceded three and in total 3-23 which would win most games for you.

However, the positives certainly outweighed the negatives for them that day in Cusack Park and they will be primed now for a right cut off Cork.

Another away victory would put them in a very advantageous position to be one of the three teams to go forward into the All-Ireland series, all the more so because they will be on home turf for the encounters with Limerick and Clare.

In stating that they will be primed, the same can be said of Cork, of course, after their impressive victory over Waterford.

The level of Cork's win was below what Clare achieved against Limerick the previous night and the game lacked the ferocity of that tie in the Gaelic Grounds.

But from a Cork viewpoint, particularly the team management it was a good day at the office despite how desperately poor the Waterford challenge was.

Cork manager Pat Ryan knows Tipp will arrive in Páirc Uí Chaoimh ready to upset the hosts. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
Cork manager Pat Ryan knows Tipp will arrive in Páirc Uí Chaoimh ready to upset the hosts. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

Cork were enterprising for the most part, there was a greater cutting edge about their play and as a unit the team displayed plenty of energy.

The older guard of Seamie Harnedy, Hoggy, Damien Cahalane and Conor Lehane in the opening half showed that they still have a lot to offer the set-up and with the introduction of Robbie O'Flynn, Padraigh Power, Conor Cahalane and Shane Kingston, Tim O'Mahony too, the competition for starting places has gone up a few notches.

Cork were certainly allowed far too much space too often and without doubt their ability to capitalise on that will have been noted by the Tipp management.

Tipp have the benefit of having an extra week since they saw off Clare and such a quick turnaround of just six days as Cork had has caused problems for teams in the past. Then again, Clare had a similar amount of time after their capitulation to Tipp and we saw what they did to Limerick.

The Cork defence coped admirably from any threat that Waterford posed but Tipp will surely ask more searching questions.

They had 11 players contributing on the board in Cusack Park with Jake Morris and Jason Forde sharing 4-10 between them.

There is a strong blend to the side and Cahill seems to be getting more out of some players than previous managements did.

In this minefield of a Munster championship it is vital that one good day is followed by another, all the more so when you have home advantage as Cork have tomorrow night.


Whoever loses this game it will put them back into the mix of a championship where the margin for error is minimal. Cork's final group game is away to Limerick and there was a viewpoint that Limerick would have their place in the All-Ireland series wrapped up by then.

That won't be the case now and another home win for Cork tomorrow night is nearly imperative. Maybe not as much for Tipp as their final two games are in Thurles.

At this juncture in time it does appear that Waterford won't be extending their Summer and that's based on their hugely poor display against Cork.

That would leave us with a savage battle between the other four for the three places.

Of course, things can change so quickly from one week to the next and we have seen that already over the past two weekends.

Both Cork and Tipp were not overly extended in their opening games but it's a near certainty that they will test each other to the fullest extent tomorrow night when the atmosphere at the Cork headquarters is sure to be electric.

There won't have been any shouting from the rooftops in either county after their opening victories but the optimism levels will be that bit greater.

Who will emerge triumphant? 

Toss of a coin really but Cork need to capitalise on home advantage again and if they can add a few extra blocks to the win last Sunday, they should be capable of getting the job done.

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