Another cracker likely as Cork host arch rivals Tipp

LAST June they played out a wondrous game of hurling in Páirc Uí Chaoimh that reached the dizzying scoring heights of 5-17 apiece and that is the backdrop which tonight this year’s Cork and Tipperary minor hurlers meet in the ESB Munster MHC quarter-final in the same venue at 6.30pm.

“It was a fantastic game to watch,” recalls Tipperary manager Mark O’Leary.

“But at the same time, it was really heart-stopping stuff for a manager to be watching a game like that. To see 30 young lads at that age group to give you that sort of game was unreal. I remember the spectators that night gave them a standing ovation coming off that night and they deserved every bit of it.”

O’Leary is forecasting a tough challenge in this clash.

“We have a few injuries leading up which disrupted the run up to the game for guys like Mike O’Brien who had a recurring ankle injury.

“The U16’s did well to win last year, but the minor championship is a step ahead and you can’t read too much into that grade. It’s the lads first time out in a really big game and we’re just hoping we get lads playing well in what will be a tough match.”

Cork manager John Considine has had his own injury problems to deal with as defenders Roger Ryan and Damien Cahalane, and attackers Kevin Hallissey and Dara Ring have all been on the treatment table which forces them out of this game.

“Roger is nearly ready after a hamstring injury, while Kevin’s probably two weeks away from playing hurling at full contact level. They’ve been injured for the last two months. Damien Cahalane is now back fit but had been out for quite a while Dara Ring had hamstring problems..

“We got a good bit of work in late March and early April and we’d be happy enough with our preparations. We got access to the players, clubs were good to us. It’s should be a great game, and it’s a great opportunity for our guys. Hopefully they’ll come good and some of them have the experience of last year and of minor football which helps.”

Cork will be looking to defensive survivors from last year Diarmuid Lester and Christopher Joyce to lead the way, while their attack is full of potential in the likes of Conor Lehane, Jamie Coughlan and Brian Hartnett.

Tipperary will have players like Brian Stapleton, John Meagher, Dan McCormack and Jason Forde as survivors from last year’s minor side, while graduates from their All-Ireland U16 winning team Liam McGrath and Cathal Horan are promising talents.

In the other ties in the ESB Munster MHC tonight, Waterford welcome Clare for a clash in Walsh Park at 6.30pm. Waterford’s challenge will be anchored by defenders Luke Egan and Martin O’Neill, and the attacking trio of Pauric Mahony, Cormac Curran and Jake Dillon. Clare’s challenge will be based on the talents of full-back Noel Purcell, midfield duo Padraig Collins and Tony Kelly, and attackers Alan Mulready and Niall Arthur. In Kilmallock, Limerick host Kerry at 6.30pm with the Ger Hegarty managed home side looking to Ard Scoil Rís stars Alan Dempsey, Declan Hannon, Shane Dowling and John Fitzgibbon for inspiration against a Kerry team that will be backboned by members of this Causeway VS team.

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