Friday, August 09, 2013
Sunday, August 11
GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final
Cork v Dublin, Croke Park, 3.30pm
For the second week in a row, Cork face Dublin in a crucial knock-out championship game at Croke Park. While the footballers of Dublin got the better of last week’s encounter, it’s almost impossible to call this small ball meeting of two of the biggest population centres in the country.
After their Leinster final hammering of Galway, Dublin will go in as favourites, but Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s young Cork side will be full of confidence following their impressive quarter-final defeat of Kilkenny.
Remarkably, this will be the first All-Ireland semi-final meeting between the sides in 85 years, which is perhaps a measure of Dublin’s absence from the top tier rather than happenstance. They did, however, meet four times in finals in the 1940s and 1950s.
Last Five Clashes
2008: Cork 1-17 Dublin 0-15
2007: Cork 3-20 Dublin 0-15
1952: Cork 2-14 Dublin 0-7
1944: Cork 2-13 Dublin 1-2
1942: Cork 2-14 Dublin 3-4
Cork were last in a semi-final last year, losing to Galway by 0-22 to 0-17, while Dublin contested a semi-final last in 2011, when they lost out narrowly to Tipperary.
Despite the lengthy gap since their last semi-final meeting, they do have a more recent history in the championship. They met in the Qualifiers in 2008 and 2007, Cork winning by five and 14-point margins respectively.
Incredibly, Dublin have not beaten Cork in the championship since 1927 and are looking to reach an All-Ireland final for the first time since 1961. Cork’s last appearance at Croke Park in September was back in 2006.
Dublin have taken the more arduous path to the semi-final, having drawn with Wexford in their opening game and then won the replay. Again, they needed a replay to beat Kilkenny in the next round, but in the Leinster final they delivered the finest performance of Anthony Daly’s management reign to beat last year’s All-Ireland finalists, Galway, by 2-25 to 2-13.
It’s been quite a remarkable turnaround for Daly’s side, who were knocked out of the championship by Clare on July 7 of last year having been humiliated by Kilkenny in Leinster. Reaching an All-Ireland final would be the ultimate redemption for a side not many predicted would figure prominently at this stage of the competition.
“Look sure we’ve had plenty of dark moments as well,” Daly said this week. “It’s easy talking here today when we know we’re in an All-Ireland semi-final and we’re Leinster champions but there have been plenty of times you’d be driving home saying to yourself, ‘Hi, go way back to your pub and fill porter will ya’.”
Cork are back in the semi-finals for the second year in a row under Jimmy Barry-Murphy, but the feeling is that they are a little bit better prepared this time around. JBM’s young side look fitter and stronger this year and the manager has had another 12 months to fine-tune a very distinct style which has been heavily influenced by the training of former international athlete David Matthews.
Cork, having performed poorly against Limerick in the Munster final, returned with a bang against Kilkenny and delivered the ultimate expression of the philosophy Barry-Murphy has espoused, running the Cats ragged with a superb game-plan based on pressing and relentless running. Dublin are a younger side with less mileage on the clock and Daly will no doubt have a few tactical aces up his sleeve to deal with the Rebels.
Cork have named an unchanged side from the one that overcame Kilkenny. One change of note to the subs is the inclusion of veteran defender Brian Murphy, who has recovered from a shoulder injury. Dublin are due to announce their team after training on Friday evening.
Cork: A Nash, S McDonnell, S O’Neill, C O’Sullivan, T Kenny, C Joyce, W Egan, L Mc Loughlin, D Kearney, S Harnedy, J Coughlan, P Cronin, L O’Farrell, P Horgan, C Lehane.