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Cork vs Tipperary on the double

Wednesday, 27th February, 2019 3:19pm

Cork vs Tipperary
It seems that with every week in the Allianz National Leagues both Cork teams have faced must win games.

In the case of the footballers, this weekend is without doubt one of the most important matches of the year. It is only March but another loss and it’s almost certainly Division 3 next year.

In the immediate aftermath of the loss to Meath, manager Ronan McCarthy was refreshingly honest in his assessment: “There is no hiding place, we are in a difficult situation and if we are to avoid the drop, we need to win our three remaining games.”

Despite the precarious position they are in, he retains belief in his players. “I do because I see the effort they put in at training, in their recovery and in their pre-match preparation, it is all first class and they cannot be faulted.”

Ronan did accept that confidence is low: “It is and that will only change if we can get a win, look we will work hard during the week and prepare for the Tipperary game. The only people that solve our problems are ourselves and that is what we will be striving to do.”

Tipp have their own problems, with a raft of injuries to key players and another, Brian Fox, out on the back of a straight red card in the loss to Armagh. Among the absentees is Michael Quinlivan and his absence weakens their attack.

Tipp were winners in the league game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last year, but Cork have won the last two championship outings. Back in May, they really put Liam Kearns' men to the sword but that remains Cork’s only meaningful result in the last 12 months.

There were very few positives from last week’s loss to Meath, the one exception would be the return of Sean Powter who injected life into the attack. The composition of the team will vary little I would think but let’s hope that there is an improvement. They might just get the win they so badly need.

In contrast to Ronan, hurling boss John Meyler was in an upbeat mood after the win over the All-Ireland champions Limerick, but also well aware it’s only a league game played in February.

“Look I am pleased with the win and the effort from everyone, it’s a hard place to get a result and we have to come back here in May. That will be a different game, but I'm very happy with the result.”

John name-checked a couple of players that were pivotal to the win: “Hoggie is Hoggie, he got a great goal, nailed a couple of big frees as he always does, Cormac Murphy was very good, Kearney, Cooper, Daniel Dooley and Robert Downey also did well on their first league outings.”

Tipperary are next up: “That should be lively and we now have an opportunity to make the quarter-final, but apart from that aspect another performance like today will do fine. We have a couple of injuries and of course the Fitzgibbon Cup lads will return and that’s a help also.”

It was without question Cork’s best display of the league to date, there was an energy and a hunger about their play and right from the off, they were hunting and working all over the field. That start gave them a huge boost, but more importantly they had the composure to close the game out when Limerick drew level late on.

It hasn’t been the best of leagues for Tipp, and the expected boost from the return of Liam Sheedy has not yet materialised.

A win for Tipp on Sunday will keep them in contention for a quarter-final place. They have quality players while Cork, with back-to-back wins and playing at home will be favoured to win. Cork should shade this clash, especially if they play as well as they did last Sunday.

Having won their opening game in Division 2 of the Littlewoods Camogie League, Cork make the trip to Meath to play the home county and will find this one a tough nut to crack.

CBC will need to put their disappointment with the Harty Cup Final loss behind them when the play Gort Community School in the All-Ireland Quarter-Final series on Saturday. Padraig Power is ruled out with illness but hopefully others can deliver big games in their bid to keep their season alive. Midleton CBS' quarter-final has been deferred until 6 March.

On the back of a one point defeat to Tipp in Páirc Uí Rinn last week, the Cork Ladies Footballers make the long trip to Inniskeen to play Monaghan on Sunday where they will need to win to maintain their hopes of making the play-offs.

Finally what a few days it has been for the hurlers and footballers of UCC, double champions with the winning of the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups playing an attractive style of play in both codes.

Special mention to Games Officer, the ever helpful John Grainger a dyed in the wool ‘College’ man, and what about the man himself Billy Morgan? His drive and passion is as strong today as it ever was.

Well done to all.

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