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Rebel Rising The Outside Bet For Hurling All Ireland

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary 11/3/2018 Tipperary vs Cork Cork's Christopher Joyce with Patrick Maher of Tipperary Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Conor Wyse

Although Cork have not exactly set the world alight since John Meyler took the reins, do not rule the Rebels out of the running for a tilt at the All Ireland Hurling Championship.

Many would be putting the Rebels’ name forward as a genuine All Ireland contender with a lot more confidence had Kieran Kingston decided to stay on for another year, but under John Meyler there is a sense of unknown to this Cork theme.

Meyler will feel he has got what was required out of the league campaign, with Division 1 status retained for another year, while he has also blooded in some fresh talent, adding depth to his squad in vital areas.

There is no doubt that in Patrick Horgan, Alan Cadogan, Seamus Harnedy and Conor Lehane, Cork possess one of the fastest and most skilful forward lines in the country.

They also possess the perfect blend of youth and experience in the midfield sector with the hardworking Bill Cooper and the dynamic Darragh Fitzgibbon manning the centre of the park.

Cork’s problems over the last few years have been related to the spine of their defence, with their porous nature being highlighted in the high-profile games Cork have played in Croke Park in recent times.

In the 2013 final replay, the Rebels shipped five goals against Clare, conceded two against Tipperary in the 2014 Semi-Final and conceded four against Waterford once again in Croke Park last summer.

One of the huge positives that Cork can take from the league has been the additions of Sean O’Donoghue and Eoin Cadogan to the full-back line and the positioning of Tim O’Mahony at number six.

Cork conceded just two goals in six games in the league, one of which was a penalty in the relegation final, underlining the improvement in terms of goals conceded.

If Cork have indeed found a new and improved back line, one would find it hard to argue against them being in the mix up for All Ireland honours come August.

The Leesiders are currently hovering around the 8/1 mark in the betting markets and are worth taking an outside punt on.

Selection: Cork at 8/1 to win the All Ireland Hurling Championship.

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