The bookies have it evens your choice. And as TJ Ryan puts it, Cork v Kilkenny might be the deafest dog of all — the hardest to call. Here’s how our podcast pundits are breaking it down.
Cork have changed their style of hurling and gone for pace. It’s the one thing, down through the years, Kilkenny maybe have struggled with. But their power is ferocious and their ability to win 50/50 balls is probably second to none.
It’s contrasting styles in some respects. It’ll probably be the team who’ll impose their style of game who will get the result.
I think everything will have to go right for Cork to win. The big word again is consistency of performance. But I just think they might come up a slight bit short. The three-week break will have done Kilkenny a power of good. I think Kilkenny if they get the same opportunities Dublin did, they will put us away.
I think Cork’s pace will cause this Kilkenny backline problems in Croke Park. I think Jack O’Connor is a gamechanger. You just can’t leave him on a one-on-one. You really have to mind the house to a much better degree, because he puts the afterburners on and he has goal on his mind.
Cody comes along and wins the last two Leinster Championships, with little fuss, and has a little snigger driving out of Croke Park. We’re talking about all the other teams and he’s consistently doing what he does best.
Maybe even after extra-time.
When we heard that massive quote during the year, that camogie is now more physical than hurling, it definitely filtered through to Croke Park and I think they’ve discussed it and said we’ve got to let the game go.
I think Kilkenny will come with a ferocious, fair physicality to Croke Park. I know Cork have done very well, but Kilkenny have been preparing the last three weeks, they’ll have all the matchups weighed up. James McGarry and co are very smart in the backroom team. I think it’ll be a war of attrition.
Cork are a team in progress, coming through nicely, but I think this could be a bridge too far.
The Leinster conference is not as strong as the Munster Championship, but Kilkenny are the outlier, for reasons like tradition and everything else.
There will be a lot of talk about how Kilkenny will handle the Cork pace, But against Dublin, I was really impressed with Huw Lawlor. I think Paddy Deegan is now the spiritual leader of the team behind TJ. Tommy Walsh is playing really well in the other corner. James Maher really stepped up the last day. And you’ve Padraig Walsh sitting in the middle. I’m not so sure about this lack of pace. They are tough, hardy boys. Eoin Murphy behind them is probably the go-to keeper, marshalling it all like a sweeper.
I’m going for a repeat of ‘73 in the final. I wouldn’t underestimate Cork. If things start to roll for Cork they could become an animal that is very hard to control. But I think the schedule could come against them.