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Tipperary looking for 21st Munster final win

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Tipperary looking for 21st Munster final win thumbnailDarragh Fitzgibbon of Cork and Paudie Feehan of Tipperary were in Token Arcade, in Smithfield, Dublin ahead of the Bord G·is Energy GAA Hurling U-21 Munster in P·irc UÌ Chaoimh on Wednesday, July 4 with a 7.30pm throw-in.

When Tipperary captured their 21st All-Ireland Senior Hurling title in 1965, defeating Wexford at Croke Park, the All-Ireland Under-21 championship was in its infancy.
It was one year old in fact and Tipperary were the first winners and 54 years later they travel to Pairc Ui Chaoimh for this Wednesday evening's Munster final to claim their 21st title in what will be the last Under-21 final of the age.
Next year it will be under-20 level but age is just a number they say and with history in mind it is even more notable that it is Cork and Tipp, two Munster hurling giants that feature in the decider.
Both Tipp and Cork share 48 Munster final wins with Tipp last winning in 2010 and Cork in 2007. More interesting is the thought that Limerick 2011, 2015 and 2017, Clare 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014 and Waterford in 2016 have won eight of the last ten Munster finals.
The last time Tipperary faced Cork in the Munster championship was in 2013 when the Premier County won comprehensively 5-19 to 2-13 at Semple stadium. Jason Forde scored 2-8 (0-6f, 1-0 pen) in a Tipp side that had present day senior members including Niall O'Meara (who was Tipp Under-21 captain 2013), Cathal Barrett, Michael Breen, John McGrath Seamus Kennedy, Joe O'Dwyer, Darragh Mooney and Thomas Hamill. Cork on the other hand were not shy of well known names which had Christopher Joyce, Conor Lehane, Damien Cahalane, Colm Spillane with former senior players Jamie Coughlan, Alan Cadogan and well known hurling coach Jamie Wall.
The teams have met five times 2009 to 2013 with Tipp winning 2009, 2010, 2012 and the previously mentioned 2013 tie. Cork won the 2011 Munster semi final meeting at Semple Stadium 4-19 to 1-21.
The lead up to this year's final began in May and both sides reached this year's final on the foot of two well marshalled semi final wins over Limerick and Waterford last month. In the first semi final on Wednesday June 20, Cork, backboned by three of last Sunday's Munster senior final winners in Shane Fitzgibbon, Mark Coleman and Shane Kingston, produced a strong second half performance to defeat Waterford by 0-23 to 1-17. Shane Fitzgibbon was a powerful influence at midfield that evening while Robbie O'Flynn was a winner at right wing forward. The Rebels have a strong spine of senior players on the team with Danny Griffin at full back with Mark Coleman at six. As we mentioned there is Fitzgibbon at midfield but the front six is really good with Robbie O'Flynn and Shane Kingston both at wing forward sharing the forty with Declan Dalton who is a very accurate free taker. Both Tim O'Mahony and Jack O'Connor form two thirds of a dangerous full forward line. The question remains as to how fit this Cork side will be after celebrating last Sunday's senior victory over Clare.
But Tipperary are not shy of talent and the semi final win on June 21 (the longest day of the year) against the Munster and all-Ireland winners 2017 Limerick was very satisfactory.
With Limerick already first round winners over Clare, the Premier knew they were up against a very strong Limerick side. Tipp had played a number of challenge games but won just one but once the real action began they got stuck in with Brian McGrath enjoyed a great evening at full back and scoring three frees which is a major asset to any team. Podge Campion and Killian O'Dwyer did their bit without any fuss in front of a confident Ciaran McGrath in goal.
Dillon Quirke was to the fore at half back but Paddy Cadell and Cian Flanagan carried out their defensive duties as one would expect. Team captain Colin English scored three points from midfield and was man of the match in partnership with Ger Browne who scored twice. Five points from a midfield partnership is a huge asset to have.
But upfront was the real joy as Mark Kehoe, Jake Morris and David Gleeson got on the scoreboard and were well supported by Jerome Cahill, Paudie Feehan and Lyndon Fairbrother on free taking duty.
The only disappointment with the win over Limerick was the lack of goal scoring opportunities. Overall Tipp have a reliable backline but it's upfront that Tipp will need to win and create more than one goal scoring opportunity. In the semi final Tipp were in front almost from the start but it wasn't until David Gleeson's wonderful goal in the 39th minute before Tipp could relax.
There have been 33 previous meetings between the sides with Tipperary on 16 wins to Cork's 14 and 3 games were drawn.
Tipp have played 16 times on Cork soil winning 7, drawing 1 and have 8 losses. The seven wins were in the following years, 1965 Kildorrery, 1978, 1984, 2003, 2010, 2012 in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and 1980 in Fermoy with the one draw in 1989 in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The last 12 games were played in the last twenty years and Tipp won seven to Cork four and there was one draw. Five of those games were finals and Tipp won three including the 2003 replay at Cork headquarters.
The results of the last twelve are as follows:
23/8/1998 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Final Cork 3-18 Tipperary 1-10;
31/7/2003 at Semple Stadium - Final Tipperary 1-18 Cork 3-12 (Draw):
3/8/2003 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh Final Tipperary 2-14 Cork 0-17 (Replay AET);
4/8/2004 at Semple Stadium - Final Tipperary 1-16 Cork 1-13;
3/8/2005 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Final Cork 4-8 Tipperary 0-13;
9/8/2006 at Semple Stadium - Final Tipperary 3-11 Cork 0-13;
10/7/2007 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Quarter-Final Cork 1-14 Tipperary 2-10;
3/6/2009 at Semple Stadium - Quarter-Final Tipperary 2-22 Cork 0-25 (AET);
14/7/2010 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Semi-Final Tipperary 2-17 Cork 0-21 (AET);
15/7/2011 at Semple Stadium - Semi-Final Cork 4-19 Tipperary 1-21;
6/6/2012 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Quarter-Final Tipperary 0-18 Cork 0-17;
17/7/2013 at Semple Stadium - Semi Final Tipperary 5-19 Cork 2-13.
Overall this will be another close fought encounter as only Tipperary and Cork games provide. It's too close to call but one would be surprised if the winning margin was more than six points either way.
Throw in 7.30pm.

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