Shane Stapleton and football coach Steven Poacher preview the Munster SFC meeting of Cork and Tipperary, where the Rebels will hope they can kick on after beating Kerry, while the Premier will need a huge improvement after scraping past Limerick.
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BY GERARD BROWNE
Steven Poacher doesn’t believe Cork will be caught cold in Sunday’s Munster SFC final with Tipperary.
The Rebels pulled off the shock of the championship to stun Kerry 1-12 to 0-13 after extra-time in the semi-final, with Mark Keane scoring a last-minute goal.
All that stands in their way of a first Munster crown since 2012 is Tipperary, whose last provincial title was 85 years ago.
David Power’s outfit also needed an additional 20 minutes to overcome Limerick 1-15 to 2-11 and prior to that, they saw off Clare 2-11 to 1-11.
Recent encounters between these sides have been close and everything points towards another tight contest at Páirc Úi Chaoimh.
The league meeting back in February was a high-scoring encounter which the Leesiders won 3-13 to 0-21, though Ronan McCarthy’s side are heavy favourites with the bookmakers.
“There is a danger that Cork could think they played the final already and have a level of complacency,” says Poacher.
“I can’t see it and how can there be any complacency when the prize at stake is an All-Ireland semi-final, and you’re two games away from the final.
“Cork’s gameplan vs Kerry was to flood the middle third and stop the runners but I think they will have a different type of approach.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see them turn this into a shootout because they probably felt they couldn’t do that the last day.”
For the first time in eight years, a Munster decider won’t involve the Kingdom and with no back door this year, a golden opportunity awaits for one of these two counties.
The Premier reached the last four in 2016 and the Down minor coach states this is their best chance of getting back to that stage.
“Tipperary football has come a long way and they got absolutely nothing to lose,” Poacher adds.
“On paper, they have a frighting full-forward line, one of the best in the country and it’s just a question of whether they can enough ball into them.
“There is the Bloody Sunday situation, wearing the jerseys and that might give them an added edge.
“They have to be looking at this game and thinking deep down, we will never get a better chance to get to an All-Ireland semi-final.”