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The Irish Sun Sport Preview Of The Contest Between The Big Swinging Dicks Of Munster

The Irish Sun Sport Preview Of The Contest Between The Big Swinging Dicks Of Munster
Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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Since things got up and running in 1884, Cork and Tipperary have played each other approximately 3,456 times in the championship.

But this Sunday marks a first.

For the first time, they will face each other in the big hall in Jones Road. And one of the major questions is, how many old lads, with farmers caps and hair sprouting on their cheeks, will show up in Thurles this Sunday out of habit.

The two counties have fought a long battle for supremacy in Munster.

And while there are five counties (apologies to Kerry hurling folk) who harbour hopes of winning the province at the start of every year, these two are very much the big swinging dicks down South.

This Sunday, the 100+ year old cockfight moves to Croke Park.


So here are three reasons Cork will win...

1. Their handsome man on the line

Jimmy Barry Murphy is a GAA man of such all around perfection, its like he was created in the science lab in North Mon secondary school.

A dashing, cool, skilful player, he has become a superbly astute and inspirational manager, effortlessly able to wring success out of supposedly unpromising material.

The sight of him standing on the line, looking impossibly composed, seems to offer reassurance to his players and to every Cork person watching that all will be right by the finish.


He is a living, breathing reminder that the Cork hurlers usually win in the end.

2. You've to lose one to win one

One of sport's most doubtful maxims. With some teams, its a case of 'you've got lose a lot to lose some more', but in Cork it seems to be true. Under Donal O'Grady, Cork emerged from a couple of chaotic years to reach the 2003 All-Ireland final.


In a typical show of doggedness, a Kilkenny side not at their exuberant best just got the better of them. No matter. The following year, Cork burst out of the blocks after half time, got up a head of steam and kept going. Everyone braced themselves for the Kilkenny reaction that never came and Cork sped on to victory.

3. They do brawls well and have the most confident supporters in the world

Anyone who has ever stood next to a Cork supporter at the match knows what it is like to have underdog status thrust on you regardless of the recent record your team has against Cork. They are all imbued with the spirit that led to Donal Og Cusack to roar 'We are Cork' over and over again during the pre-match parade. Og Cusack tended to stop shouting that once the match started. the supporters kept it up throughout.


Unlike some on the Sunday Game panel, we don't condone brawls but how do you beat this kind of fire. Its a fire that burns brightly in Cork hurling. Even their U-16s have it.


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And here are three reasons Tipperary will win...

1. Their very intelligent man on the line...

Eamon O' Shea, is frequently feted as a kind of hurling intellectual, a guru perfectly au fait with the mechanics of building a stylish and exciting hurling team.


This characterisation has a lot to do with his job. He works as Head of Economics at NUIG and so is often worshipped as some kind of super brain in profiles and interviews (we have no doubt he's a bright man).

As all hurling insiders (ie. Hogan Stand contributors) know, O'Shea was integral to the ascension of Tipperary after Babs Keating decided to leave everybody alone in the late noughties.


2. That League game...

The pair played a League match in Semple Stadium in March so absurdly high scoring that the poor unfortunates updating the scoreboard in Thurles probably couldn't lift their arms for weeks afterwards. The umpires were collapsing with exhaustion afterwards.

The tight editing team at TG4 attempted to condense the game into this 2.31 highlights package. They failed. We get no final whistle here. But Tipp won in the end.

 3. Because any team that has a forward with an iconic nickname is bound to be good and even more so when he's able to score headers

One of the curious things about RTE's GAA commentary is how keen they are to sprinkle their patter with casual references to the nicknames of inter-county players, needing only the minimal degree of acquaintance with someone before referring to them as if they were lifelong pals.

John 'Bubbles' Dwyer is already one of the great GAA nicknames. As soon as RTE started referring to him as 'Bubbles' Dwyer, the prospect of him winning an All-Ireland became inevitable.

He is also, as soccer managers are inclined to say, a real handful in the air. Here he is scoring a glancing header against Kilkenny in the League. Cork have no one with that pedigree in the air.

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