As Cork and Clare meet for the second Munster final in a row let’s take a look at five key questions ahead of Sunday’s game at Semple Stadium.
1) Can Clare Keep Up Their Good Form?
Following a first week defeat to (guess who) Sunday’s opponents Cork, Clare went on to win their next three games to secure a spot in the Munster hurling final for the second year in a row.
The Banner have been growing in confidence after every single game which included a dismantling of previous Munster favourites Limerick last time out.
Clare have already lost to Cork this campaign but they will still feel that they have a very strong chance at success at Semple Stadium on Sunday. Their forward line has been on fire recently with Peter Duggan and Tony Kelly finding fantastic form when it’s really mattered.
They’ll find it tough up against a strong Cork defence but it would be no surprise to anyone if this Clare side picked up a huge Munster final victory.
2) Do Cork have Clare’s Number?
Regardless of Clare’s form heading into this game, Cork have a distinct psychological advantage.
The Rebels have won the last four encounters between the sides, as Clare look for their first victory against Cork since that memorable All-Ireland final replay in 2013.
With only two wins in their last 13 against Cork, Clare haven’t been able to find the formula to topple John Meyler’s men of late, which included a defeat in the first round of this year’s Munster round robin.
Clare won’t admit it, but they’ll know that recently Cork have had their number.
3) Will Cork’s Resilience Take Them Over The Line?
A key component of this Cork team under John Meyler, especially this season, has been their resilience.
Unbeaten in four games, all of Cork’s matches were very tight heading into the last five minutes and The Rebels did not succumb to defeat in any. The Waterford game being the best example of this.
The last few minutes of the game was tight as The Deise continued to push and push looking to finish their season strong. Cork stepped it up a gear in stoppage time grabbing crucial scores to see them over the line and into a Munster final.
John Meyler will know that if his team are still in the game with five minutes to go, then they know how to step up and seize a victory from the jaws of defeat.
4) Can Cork Stop Peter Duggan?
If Cork are to pick up their second Munster Championship in a row, then they are going to have to find a way to stop Clare forward Peter Duggan.
1-45 so far in this championship campaign has Duggan second in the scoring charts and of late his double figure points return against both Tipperary and Limerick have been key factors in victory.
Crucially, Duggan has also been clinical from placed balls as of late, which could be the difference in what will likely be a tight Munster final.
With Tony Conlan in excellent form also this Clare frontline should cause Cork some serious issues
5) Will Either Of These Sides Win The All Ireland?
It looked as though Limerick were the team to watch in this season’s Munster championship when they went into the last game of the round robin.
The talk was of John Kiely’s men being dark horses to topple champions Galway in this season’s All-Ireland championship. Then Clare beat them and snuck into the Munster final at their expense. People stopped talking about dark horses Limerick. No one started talking about Clare’s All-Ireland chances.
In truth, neither of these sides are better than Galway, but certainly, they could both prove a threat to The Tribesmen should they meet them in the latter stages.
Cork have gone through a tough Munster championship unbeaten, and Clare’s forward line are a match for any team in the country.
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