Both ended barren spells in the past decade with county championship success. However both had failed to continue those winning ways into Munster.
This year there is a palpable determination to do better in each camp. It’s not about the honour of either Cork or Tipperary either, though both clubs are conscious of the fact they are now representing their respective counties. It’s about themselves.
Both have several county stars, though Thurles Sars are more heavily laden with high-profile players. Lar Corbett (inset)(hurler-of-the-year 2010, three All Stars), Padraic Maher (two All Stars), and Mickey Cahill (1 All Star) are the prominent figures, while Pa Bourke is also a free-scoring current county star. On the Cork side you have Wexford star Eoin Quigley, current Cork panellists Cian McCarthy, Conor O’Sullivan and Daniel Kearney, former stars Kieran ‘Fraggie’ Murphy and Ray Ryan, Tadhg Óg Murphy and giant full-forward Michael Cussen. All the above will have major roles to play tomorrow, but they won’t win this game. It will come down to the others on the respective teams, those who have yet to take that final major individual step. Again the Thurles side is well served with youngsters of the calibre of Mikey O’Brien, Aidan McCormack and Denis Maher a major threat up front. Cork Sarsfields too have their unsung heroes, however. Daniel Roche, William Kearney, Gavin O’Loughlin, Robert O’Driscoll and Eoin O’Sullivan will all be bursting to show what they’re capable of on this stage. It will be close but the experience from the first-round win over Kilmallock could swing it for the hosts.
* Verdict: Thurles Sars