Daly tips Cork for victory

Former Clare manager Anthony Daly is backing Cork to claim an historic three-in-a-row of All-Ireland SHC titles at Croke Park this Sunday.

Former Clare manager Anthony Daly is backing Cork to claim an historic three-in-a-row of All-Ireland SHC titles at Croke Park this Sunday.

Having lifted the Liam McCarthy Cup as Clare captain in 1995 and 1997, Daly knows all about September success at Headquarters.

His third and final season in charge of Clare saw his side go toe-to-toe with both finalists, Cork and Kilkenny, and the Clarecastle clubman has a slight leaning towards the Rebels, who knocked his charges out of the Munster championship in May.

Daly said: "I think Cork will get their third title in a row this weekend. I thought the week after our All-Ireland semi-final defeat (to Kilkenny), I would have been leaning towards Kilkenny.

"Though I think, as time has passed, I am more in favour of Cork as they have a fierce incentive to get the three in a row.

"I know they stopped Kilkenny from doing the three in a row a couple of years ago, and Kilkenny will be mad to stop them this time," he told Daily Ireland.

"The loss of JJ Delaney (through injury) will have a huge bearing on the game as well. It's the same as Cork losing Sean Óg O hAilpín. I think that's a huge knock to Kilkenny's chances."

Whilst admitting that goals will be crucial for Kilkenny, Daly, who tendered his resignation to the Clare County Board last Saturday, reckons that Cork will edge the midfield proceedings with Tom Kenny and Jerry O'Connor having "a slight advantage" over 'Cha' Fitzpatrick and Derek Lyng.

As ever, Kilkenny's top scorer Henry Shefflin will come in for much attention.

"We have played Kilkenny quite a bit with Henry Shefflin scoring 1-13 the last day with 1-6 from play," he said. "You may see Cork put O hAilpín on him.

"If he (Shefflin) plays at full forward it will be intriguing to see how he gets on against (Diarmuid) O'Sullivan. You don't know where they are going to play him because he is so versatile.

"They could decide to line him out on the wing but I thought when they did that a few years ago, it was a big mistake for Kilkenny because they played him on O hAilpín.

"Kilkenny played into Cork's hands on that occasion, they won't do that again and I think he will either be in the corner or at full forward."

The 6ft 2in Shefflin was well shackled when he played at right half-forward in the 2004 final defeat to Cork, however he did lead the Cats' scoring that day, cracking over five points of their 0-9 tally, although he scored only a single point from play.

This summer, the Ballyhale ace has swapped effortlessly between the full-forward and left corner forward berths and is averagingmore than 11 points per game.

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