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Tipp need a fast start - Sweeney

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Conor Sweeney

Conor Sweeney

SPORTSFILE

Conor Sweeney

This is the Munster football championship of last-second saviours. Cork's prodigal hero, Mark Keane, may be the best known but he's not the original of the species.

The previous afternoon, Tipperary were staring at oblivion. In the dying embers of injury-time in normal time, Limerick led by a point when Tipp won a free hugging the left touchline, maybe 30 metres from the end-line.

Conor Sweeney struck it with the outside of his left boot and it teasingly hit the jackpot via the far upright - straight from the Maurice Fitz playbook.

His team won by a point in extra-time and when, the following evening, Keane struck at the death to eliminate Kerry, the ramifications of Sweeney's spectacular escape-act became even more apparent.

If Tipp were facing Kerry this Sunday, you can only imagine the match odds. Cork are still hot favourites, hovering between 1/5 and 1/6 - but their recent head-to-head history is sufficiently close to render this anything but a done deal. True, Cork ran out 11-point winners in their last SFC encounter, two years ago; but that was against the trend of narrow Cork wins or, as happened in the 2016 championship and 2018 league, Tipp victories.

"I just really hope we can give a good account of ourselves this time around - I think we under-performed majorly the last time," he admits. "It's always been a goal of mine to win a Munster championship."

For dreams to become reality, however, he stresses the need for Tipp to "take ownership" of their own performance.

That means starting on the front foot, the direct opposite of their first half against Limerick when they were "very slow, very lethargic, everything was lateral."

Trailing by seven at the break, it was time for some harsh "home truths". "Listen, we're all big boys now at this stage. You don't need to be sitting around waiting for David (Power) to come in to give us a team talk. We knew exactly what the problem was," says Sweeney.


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