Cork and Limerick go head-to-head at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday, where John Meyler’s men will be confident of continuing their good form.
What: Munster Senior Hurling Championship
Who: Cork V Limerick
When: Saturday June 2nd, @ 7pm
Where: Pairc Ui Chaoimh
Odds: Cork 8/11, Draw 9/1, Limerick 7/5
Cork and Limerick face off in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday evening in what is the second of a fascinating Sky Sports double-header. Both teams enter this game unscathed, albeit Limerick have only played one game so far this summer.
Cork survived a second-half comeback from Tipperary to earn a draw in a pulsating game in Thurles last Sunday while Limerick had a convincing win over the same side in their first outing two weeks ago.
If someone had offered John Meyler a point against Tipp last Sunday morning he would have bit their hand off, but in fact the draw felt like a defeat for the Rebels given the fact that they led by as much as ten points in the opening half.
It’s not all negative though as Cork’s play in the first half was devastating at times, moving the ball the length of the pitch with pace into a full forward line whose movement and skill was unplayable at times.
Shane Kingston, Seamus Harnedy and Daniel Kearney were all star performers contributing 1-13 to Cork’s tally. It would be harsh to say that the Leesiders fell apart in the second period as Tipperary returned from the dressing room a completely different outfit.
However, with a six-day turnaround to the Limerick game, the drop-off in performance after the break will concern the Cork management having been outscored 1-12 to 0-08.
John Kiely and his charges had the luxury of a free weekend last time out after a fantastic performance against Tipperary on the opening weekend. A lot of the talk after that game was centred around how poor the Premier men were but it is important not to forget Limerick’s exceptional performance.
Although it was a late burst that won Limerick the game, outscoring their opponents 1-5 to 0-02 in the last twenty minutes, if it were not for a lack of discipline where nine frees were scored by Jason Forde, this game would have been over much earlier.
The half-back line of Diarmuid Byrnes, Declan Hannon and Dan Morrissey were completely dominant, Darragh O’ Donovan and Cian Lynch ran the midfield sector while Aaron Gillane and Graham Mulcahy were causing the Tipperary full back line serious problems.
Cork’s decline in the second half against Tipperary will give the Limerick men huge confidence that they can go to Pairc Ui Chaoimh and take the spoils after they themselves enjoyed a two-week break.
The Rebels looked a tired team in the last twenty minutes and the six day turnaround to this weekend’s fixture is a concern. Limerick will look to play on this and start the game at a hundred miles an hour, running at Cork at every opportunity, keeping the intensity as high as possible and if successful, they have every chance of beating Cork.
That being said if Cork can get anywhere near the level of performance they reached in the first half last Sunday, coupled with the fact the game is in front of their own loyal support, it should be enough to get their tired bodies over the line.
Verdict: Cork, but expect these two to compete the Munster Final.