Last Sunday Galway booked their place in this years All Ireland hurling final after seeing off Tipperary in a cracking game with Joe Canning breaking the hearts of The Premier County with a last gasp point to edge the Tribesmen through on a full time score of 0-22 to 1-18.
Munster rivals Cork and Waterford meet this Sunday in the second of this year’s final four. It’s the first meeting between the neighbouring counties at this stage since 2006 when The Rebels went on to win by a single point that year (1-16- 1-15). Cork were crowned Munster champions back then and the same again this year as they have re-emerged as real contenders for the Liam McCarthy.
During the noughties these two counties brought us some of the most memorable games whether in Munster or later on in the All Ireland series with players like John Mullane, Joe Deane, Ken McGrath, Diarmuid O’Sullivan but now a new crop of hurlers look to make their own history in this fixture.
The two have met already in the 2017 championship as Kieran Kingston’s men came out on top to win their Munster semi final clash at Thurles. Speaking ahead of the match is two time All Ireland winner and 5 time All Star Brendan Cummins.
He spoke to our reporter Daithí Boland who asked the former Tipperary net minder about his thoughts on how well the Déise have recovered since that defeat at Semple Stadium back in June
“They’ve done really well, to be fair to Waterford I think on that day they decided to play Austin Gleeson at corner forward and bring him out the pitch and have him hover around the middle without playing any sweeper so I think they lost a small bit of their identity that day”
“Since then Derek McGrath has reverted back to the sweeper system and that game against Kilkenny in extra time was a real turning point for this side”
There are many match ups to look forward to between these two but one that catches Brendan’s eye is the potential battle between Austin Gleeson and Conor Lehane
“Both players have different styles”
“Lehane isn’t the type of player that would have the big highlights reel after a game with him firing balls over his shoulder or things like that but his movement around the pitch has helped the Cork forward line especially on puck outs”
“Gleeson on the other hand is the type of player where you expect to see a highlight reel with outrageous catches in the air and firing points from anywhere”
Brendan gave great credit to how Kieran Kingston and his management team have set this Cork team up this season which seen wins over Tipp, Waterford and Clare on their way to win a first Munster crown since 2014 but the Ardfinnan man feels the question for Cork is how well have they managed the five week break
“In 2014 they played Tipp in the semi after winning Munster and they didn’t manage it well as they we’re steam rolled by us (Tipperary) so that is something in the back of their mind that they will be slightly worried about”
For many this is a game that will cause divide in who will go on to win. Daithí asked Brendan if whether it was a game that The Déise needed to get over the line more so then the men in red
“In a project point of view yes Derek McGrath is further down the road with this team and they are playing with a system they’re most comfortable with plus they look like a team that should be ready to get to an All Ireland final”
2017 has been one to remember for hurling fans and no doubt this Sunday has the potential to provide us with another game to savour. Throw in time is 3:30pm at Croke Park.
To hear the full interview with Brendan and hear who he predicts to win the game listen to the audio below
Last 5 Championship meetings:
2017 Munster S/F: Cork 0-23 – 1-15 Waterford
2015 Munster S/F: Waterford 3-19 – 1-21 Cork
2014 Munster Q/F (R): Cork 0-28 – 0-14 Waterford
2014 Munster Q/F: Cork 1-21 – 1-21 Waterford
2012 All Ireland Q/F: Cork 1-19 – 0-19 Waterford
2017 Championship Results:
Munster Q/F: 2-27 – 1-26 Tipperary
Munster S/F: 0-23 – 1-15 Waterford
Munster Final: 1-25 – 1-20 Clare
Munster S/F: 1-15 – 0-23 Cork
AI Qualifier R1: 1-35 0-14 Offaly
AI Qualifier R2: 4-23 – 2-22 Kilkenny (AET)
All Ireland Q/F: 1-23 – 1-19 Wexford
Patrick Horgan 0-27
Conor Lehane 0-15
Alan Cadogan 1-08
Pauric Mahony 0-20
Maurice Shanahan 2-06
Austin Gleeson 0-10