Losing to Limerick these past two seasons has been no big thing for Tipperary in the immediate aftermath as they have won the following games. If there is a hangover from the latest defeat, it might be seen in the opening half although they must be so mindful not to be overrun as Galway were by Waterford in that period last weekend.
Waterford simply must not be allowed to dictate the flow of the game. On one hand, the lack of pace in the Tipperary group is worrying but it’s a day that will call for wily heads, taking the steam out of the game and the most efficient of hurling. A third game in as many weeks for Waterford won’t worry them too much as the Laois match was played at a lower speed than the Galway one.
Alan Flynn is the man to tag Jamie Barron and Tipperary cries out for Noel McGrath to work his charm and centre-forward is the place to do it where Shane Bennett might be difficult to pass but his inexperience in the position could leave space to exploit. Waterford’s "Big Mo" is bigger than most, though, and there are too many variables for Tipp.
Cork know enough from Dublin’s three outings in Leinster that they are a different animal to the one they pushed aside in last November’s qualifier. Liam Rushe offers so much certainty, captain Danny Sutcliffe is playing some of his best hurling, and the lightning-quick Ronan Hayes will be champing at the bit having missed out on the Leinster final. How Dublin move with and without the ball looks more assured and they look to be working more for each other.
However, this isn’t the same Cork team either. This one doesn’t rely on points as heavily as the 2020 version, which is a testament to the attack as five of the team that began last year’s meeting started against Clare last weekend. The replacements are more like-for-like than nine months ago and so many of their young players will be walking on air given the nature of the win over Clare. Losing two experienced defenders in the week of the game and for the full-back line to shine made the win even more special.
Dublin won’t be found wanting for effort but they don’t have Cork’s confidence or depth.