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“Now is the time for this Cork team to stand up and show up” — Willie Maher

Shane, Michael and Laois manager Willie Maher preview the do-or-die Munster hurling championship clash between Limerick and Cork

Shane, Michael and Laois manager Willie Maher preview the do-or-die Munster hurling championship clash between Limerick and Cork.

Laois manager Willie Maher believes that now is the time for Cork to stand up and be counted.

The Rebels face Limerick this Sunday at the Gaelic Grounds knowing they will knock their rivals out of the championship if they can avoid defeat.

Pat Ryan’s charges have beaten Waterford, drawn with Tipp, and lost narrowly to Clare in their three games thus far.

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For their part, the three-in-a-row All-Ireland champions began with a win over the Deise, lost to Clare, and drew with Tipperary.

At times, the green machine has looked out of kilter, with focus put on Graeme Mulcahy popping over a late point when Peter Casey was well-positioned to be set up for a goal.

“The big thing for Pat Ryan is staying in the match along as they can, and not being gone after 50 minutes as regards giving themselves an opportunity to unload lads like Conor Lehane and the bench, because the quality is always there,” says Maher.

“When push comes to shove, this particular Cork group, it’s about time the Cork players stood up.

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“This is the match, albeit it’s a new Cork with Pat Ryan at the helm, (but) it’s essentially a lot of the same players. With that influx of younger guys.

“Now is the time, they have to do something against Limerick and not go away in the big matches.

“Limerick’s forte in the last number of years is to continue to play that game and working the ball short, in triangles, through the lines… Cork have to really get amongst them, and really go at them.

“Without a Mark Coleman… ultimately the Seamie Harnedys and the Patrick Horgans, it’s time to show up and that could make this really interesting.

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“Limerick looked unbeatable in everyone’s eyes for the past four or five years but they appear human now.

“Yes, I fancy Limerick to win, but at the same time they appear human so it’s a chance for Cork to do something, especially with the pace they have.

“If Limerick do show up and improve five our six percent and make a few less invidious errors, I couldn’t see Limerick beaten,” adds Tipperary native Maher.

“Cork again, that was as sucker-blow as regards Diarmuid Ryan scoring in injury time to win it in Ennis against Pat Ryan’s team. I couldn’t see Limerick being beaten. They will get it right.

“Cork are probably learning a lot from this Munster championship and their younger players stepping into this now.

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“I would fancy Limerick but Cork have been known to do something in recent years against Limerick.”

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