Cork selector Pat Ryan describes Tipperary as a “benchmark” team based on the last few seasons.
The Sarsfields clubman said: “Tipperary, along with Kilkenny, have been a benchmark team for the past seven or eight years. They’ve been fierce unlucky not to win a few more All- Irelands. They’ve fantastic players, probably one of the best hurlers in the country in Seamus Callanan. We’re not getting bogged down in their players, but just trying not to be naïve.”
Ryan and the Cork management are stressing positives ahead of the weekend .
“A few times Cork have been still in it with 10 minutes to go but let ourselves down. Before the man was sent off against Galway last year there was only a couple of points in it but we lost by 10. We’ve to make sure we’re going all the time, whether s training or matches you’ve to be going 100 miles an hour.
“We’re trying to stay positive because there is a bit of negativity around Cork hurling, but you’re not going to ease your way into the top echelons of the senior championship without a total focus on every ball and every minute of every game. From the team that lost to Galway last year we’ve Christopher Joyce back, Lorcán (McLoughlin) has played most games after a few injuries, Conor O’Sullivan is back, William Egan as well. They’re regulars now so they’re bringing freshness.”
After a disappointing league, Ryan says the play-off win over Galway was a huge boost: “Training has improved in the last few weeks and look, we are a new management team so it took a while to get used to things, to have the lads buy into our way. We’re happy with the last few weeks but Tipperary will be a huge game for us. Everyone knows we have talent but consistency has been the problem. Everyone talks about tactics in hurling, but the most effective tactic is work-rate, attitude, and desire. You try and replicate what you do at training and, from that aspect, what we see is encouraging.”
They’re mindful of the support, too: “We’ll have 25,000 Cork fans up there, however we’re going they always travel to support the hurling, and it’s up to us to represent the county well. Fellas are putting in an awful lot of hard work and the key for us now is to go in a put in a performance, but we need to win too. The first few league games were daunting, but I’m a big believer if you’ve a plan you’ve to stick to it. That was to work hard, get up our physicality and our strength and conditioning. That’s worked well but we’ll see in a few days’ time. I’m a big believer in volunteerism. I got involved with Sars and I wasn’t even finished playing fully, it’s a sense of duty. There’s none of us being paid and it’s a huge time commitment with Cork, but at the same time there are fellas growing up wanting to do exactly that.
“One thing we’d be conscious of is every time you go out there’s a duty to perform when you pull on a Cork jersey because you’re representing the people of Cork.”
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