Former Cork hurling captain Pat Mulcahy expects to see a “more familiar” looking Tipperary side on show for Sunday’s Munster SHC clash with Cork in Semple Stadium.
Tipp lost their opening game away to Limerick last Sunday, a clash where Séamus Callanan, Brendan Maher, Patrick Maher and Michael Breen were all used as substitutes due to injuries of varying degrees.
With their margin for error reduced ahead of a meeting with a Cork side which beat Clare, Mulcahy feels that Tipp manager Michael Ryan and his selectors will make changes.
“Looking at the Tipp team the last day, there seemed to be a few question marks,” he says.
“They went with improving players instead of more seasoned ones, maybe they were looking at the four games in five weeks and thinking they needed to shake things up, but there didn’t seem to be a great balance.
“Realistically, it’s a game Tipp have to win if they’re to reach the Munster final, I think if they lose, then they’re looking at third place as their best chance of qualifying for the latter stages.”
Mulcahy also acknowledges that Cork’s strength in depth has yet to be fully proven but he thinks that that is a challenge they are likely to meet before the end of the Munster campaign.
“If you were a forward on the bench, you’d be looking at that and wondering if you’d done something wrong so they’ll want to prove that they’re deserving of a chance and I think with the
turnaround so tight from game to game, you’re going to get those niggly injuries.
“You need 20 really strong players and I think Cork do have that, they unearthed a few in the league, but it’s a depth you need to be able to show when it comes to it.”
That Cork are coming in with a win behind them could be a major factor in determining the outcome.
“I’ve a feeling Cork will pull it out,” Mulcahy says.
“They were very good against Clare because they were allowed to hurl and while Tipp won’t allow that — I think it’ll be an uptight, aggressive game — Cork will be looking to build on it, it was halfway between league and championship in terms of intensity.
“Tipp haven’t kicked on, I think there are a few problems there and I think the confidence from last week will drive Cork on, just like winning in Thurles did last year.”
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