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Rebels under cosh if Tipp snipers fire

Munster SHC Round 1, Cork v Tipperary, (Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Tomorrow, 4.0, Live RTE)


Seamus Callanan

Seamus Callanan


Seamus Callanan

Maybe it was all the hoopla over this week's Champions League drama in Liverpool and Amsterdam, but we've arrived at the eve of this year's Munster SHC without the sort of public anticipation that may have otherwise been anticipated.

This may be the first game in a round-robin, but there is more riding on tomorrow's match for Cork than meets the eye.

John Meyler's team - who meandered apparently only half-interest through the League - must travel to Ennis and Limerick for their two away games in this year's provincial championship, so failure to beat Tipperary tomorrow would immediately put them under severe pressure to have a chance of making it three Munster titles on the spin.

Tipp's meek exit from the League at the semi-final stage to Dublin in Thurles dampened some of the local hysteria over Liam Sheedy's return.

Like Cork, their spring campaign was a hotchpotch of the good, the bad and indifferent but it was impossible to discern whether Sheedy had found the answers to his problems, namely the rejuvenation of Tipp's full-back line and the best alignment of his forwards.

With regard to the former, Cathal Barrett's return has been a success and his pace and adhesive marking make him a vital component of that line.

Against Dublin, 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer and John McGrath were completely outplayed by Daire Gray and Chris Crummey while the most productive deployment of Seamus Callanan and Jason Forde in the same forward line continues to puzzle.

Tomorrow might be the day it all clicks.

And if it does, and Tipperary's assassins calibrate their weapons, they have the beating of any team in this year's Munster or All-Ireland championships.

That's not guaranteed but just now it's easier to be certain about Tipp than Cork.

ODDS: Cork Evens, Draw 8/1, Tipperary 11/10

VERDICT: Tipperary