With Tipperary and Cork set to kick-off this year’s Munster Championship on Sunday, we take a look at the decade so far for two of hurling’s traditional powerhouses.
Cork, one of hurling’s long-established giants, have struggled slightly in recent times. Once the innovators of hurling, the Rebels have fallen behind. Sweepers, third midfielders and one/two-man full forward lines have changed the game.
The excuses of a changing game cannot be used against Tipperary, however. A persistence with a traditional style game has bore fruit for the Premier men. Tipp have come out the wrong side of this clash just once since 2010.
Victories over Cork in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016 have provided us with a true reflection of Tipp’s dominance. Victory on Sunday would give the Premier their first five in a row over the Rebels since the 1960s.
Not many will give the Rebels a shot this Sunday. Their attacking threat is still evident as they possess some of the game’s slickest forwards, but it is in defence their problem lies. Believers of the Cork hurling mushroom theory, however, will be quick to point to 2010.
Fresh from their narrow defeat in the All-Ireland final in 2009, Tipp were expected to breeze past Cork in 2010. An Aisake Ó hAilpín-inspired Cork halted these plans, as they ambushed the reigning Munster champions.
Patrick Horgan, a man who carries a weight of expectation each time he takes the field, chipped in with 2-2 that day. In fact since 2010, Horgan has accounted for 2-32 of Cork’s tally versus Tipperary.
Tipperary’s top scorer in the same period has been Seamus Callanan with 2-18, although he did miss out on the 2012 clash.
Cork found the net on three occasions in 2010. Since then, however, they’ve only mustered up a single goal in four games. This will have to be rectified before Sunday, as in the same period the blue and gold have raised the green flags six times.
If Rebel supporters were to be brutally honest about their chances on Sunday, they would be fearful of a heavy defeat. Tipp supporters would be disappointed with any result bar victory.
Could the Rebels possibly shock the odds again? All will be revealed Sunday evening as these two sides lock horns once more at Semple Stadium.
Kevin Daly, Pundit Arena