The race for September and ultimate glory continues this Sunday with old rivals Cork and Tipperary meeting to decide who will face Kilkenny in the Hurling showpiece of 2014. The Premier and the Rebels have the GAA stage all to themselves this weekend in the penultimate game in the battle for Liam MacCarthy. Watch the action live and on demand on GAAGO.
Munster’s biggest foes take their provincial duel to headquarters as the Blood and Bandage and the Blue and Gold meet in Croke Park or the first time ever in Championship Hurling.
With Kilkenny awaiting the winners we are guaranteed a traditional final between two of Hurling’s big-three counties, but no rivalry is as traditional and as old as that of Cork and Tipp.
The sides first met in 1888 with Tipp emerging as winners, and The Premier also took the spoils when they last met in 2012.
Cork have built on last year’s near miss against Clare in the All-Ireland Final. Winning a first Munster title since 2006 in the last match at the old Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be a big boost to confidence, and they have shown steady improvement in the wins over Waterford (in a replay), Clare and Limerick.
Jimmy Barry Murphy has tightened up his defense this season, and the addition of a few new faces has added a steely dimension to their defensive game. The forwards are firing too, with 5-96 notched up in their four games to date.
Tipperary has also being coming slowly to the boil this year. A slow start to their Allianz League campaign, and an early exit from the Munster Championship at the hands of Limerick, might not have augured well for them, but they have steadily built momentum through the summer and wins over Galway, Offaly and Dublin should have them primed to take on Cork.
Manager Eamon O’Shea said Tipp would have to step up a few levels from the performance against Dublin, but with both young-guns and old-stagers improving with each outing they are becoming a force to be reckoned with in 2014.
Neither side fear each other, and, although they won’t admit it, both will fancy their chances against Kilkenny in early September. Will the break since the Munster Final count against Cork? Have Tipperary improved enough over the summer to push through? We can’t wait for this one!!
All-Ireland Hurling Championship Semi-Final: Cork v Tipperary
Sunday 17 August (Throw-in 13:30 Irish time) - Watch live and on demand on www.gaago.ie.