Shane Stapleton looks at the draw for the All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals, and the intriguing plotlines ahead of Cork v Dublin and Tipperary v Waterford.
BY SHANE STAPLETON
Waterford will have to go to the well for a third weekend running if they are to make it back to the All-Ireland semi-final stage.
Liam Cahill’s charges laboured in their Munster opener against Clare, but have slowly picked up form in their wins over Laois and then Galway.
The Ballingarry man will this weekend take on his native county — and many players he led to All-Ireland glory at three underage grades — at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday at 1.30pm, doing battle with Liam Sheedy’s troops.
The Premier have had unhappy visits to Leeside both this season and last — suffering comprehensive defeats to Limerick on both occasions.
A terrific first-half performance against the Treaty was quickly put in the rear-view mirror as the All-Ireland champions turned a ten-point deficit into a seven-point lead, before finally coasting to victory by five.
Sheedy has a history of adjusting through the back door, as he did in 2010 after a heavy loss to Cork in Munster, and as he slowly did during the 2019 season — on both occasions going on to win the All-Ireland.
Dublin were soundly beaten by Cork in a qualifier clash last winter, with late scores from the capital taking the bad look off the scoreline.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Mattie Kenny’s side ever since – they beat Galway in a Leinster semi-final, but Covid issues and injuries ripped the heart out of their team for the provincial final clash with Kilkenny.
The nine-point defeat was understandable given the circumstances, but they go into the game with a number of players missing training or up on the physio table.
Cork have had to roll with the punches this season in their two championship games against Limerick and Clare and, but for a fantastic save by Patrick Collins on Tony Kelly, they would be on their holidays by now.
Their puckout plan was exposed by the Treaty, key men Robbie O’Flynn and Patrick Horgan had quiet days, Seamus Harnedy went off injured early, and they were hit with a couple of goals before half-time, yet they still showed promise on day one.
The Banner — on their fourth outing of the season compared with the Rebels’ second — had them on the rack at times, but they overcome adversity to win. That includes the absence of steely defenders Colm Spillane, Eoin Cadogan and Damien Cahalane.
Kieran Kingston is putting together a team full of pace and verve, but they will be tested by the Dubs in Thurles.
All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals
Tipperary v Waterford, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Saturday at 1.30pm, RTE
Dublin v Cork, Semple Stadium, Saturday 7pm, Sky