Hurling previews: Tipp to start in style
19 May 2017
Tipperary and Cork players walk behind the band during the pre-match parade before the side's 2016 Munster quarter-final clash at Semple Stadium.
Here are our previews for the nine inter-county hurling clashes taking place this weekend, including Sunday’s Munster SHC quarter-final between Tipperary and Cork.
Saturday, May 20th
Christy Ring Cup semi-finals
Carlow v Wicklow, Netwatch Cullen Park, 3pm
Carlow are fancied to get the business done when Wicklow come to town this weekend after having displayed some impressive form thus far in the competition.
The Barrowsiders accounted for Kildare comfortably in the pair’s quarter-final meeting in Newbridge two weeks ago, with Denis Murphy notching 0-10, and it leaves them just a win away from a coveted final berth.
Last week, Wicklow lodged an objection to Croke Park over the way that the draws for the semi-finals were conducted and on the pitch the Garden men face a tall order in trying to halt their Leinster rivals’ momentum here.
Antrim v Down, Cushendall, 5pm
Antrim are 8/11 favourites to win the Christy Ring Cup at this stage and an Ulster derby against Down is currently what stands in their way of another final appearance.
The Glensmen lost out to Meath in last year’s famous decider and look to hold all the aces for a return to the same stage, with home advantage to boot on Saturday.
Two goals from Eoghan Sands helped Down past London in the quarter-finals and they’ll need to up their game even more so if they are to send the Saffrons crashing out this weekend.
Christy Ring Cup relegation play-off
Mayo v Roscommon, Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, 5pm
The losers of this one will be plying their trade in the Nicky Rackard Cup next year and going on past results you’d have to give Mayo the nod in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final
Tyrone v Armagh, Carrickmore, 3pm
Armagh head for Carrickmore on Saturday having dished out a 4-20 to 0-12 defeat to Longford in their respective quarter-final.
David Carvill and Conor Corvan have been firing on all cylinders for the Orchard men as of late and Tyrone will have a battle on their hands in trying to keep those two at bay this weekend.
Monaghan v Derry, Inniskeen, 5pm
Another Ulster derby and it’s hard to envisage Derry not delivering the goods when they arrive at Inniskeen this weekend.
Monaghan came up with a splendid second-half display to down Donegal two weeks ago, but the Farney men are coming up against a far sterner challenge in the Oak Leafers on Saturday evening.
Lory Meagher Cup round 5
Fermanagh v Cavan, Lisbellaw, 1pm
Cavan made further strides in a three-point defeat to Lancashire last weekend and should be close to Fermanagh in Lisbellaw, where the hosts will look to improve on their 5-14 to 2-13 defeat to Sligo.
Lancashire v Warwickshire, Old Bedians, 3pm
Warwickshire paved their path to Croke Park last weekend with victory over Leitrim and will look to continue their winning ways when they take on their fellow Exiles in Manchester.
Leitrim v Sligo, Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, 3pm
A win for Sligo in this Carrick-on-Shannon derby would see them booking their final ticket against Warwickshire for June 10th at Croke Park and the Yeats men should have enough to do so against chasing Leitrim.
Sunday, May 21st
Munster SHC quarter-final
Tipperary v Cork, Semple Stadium, 4pm – RTE
Tipperary commence their All-Ireland and Munster SHC title defence on Sunday at home to Cork and are priced as 1/4 favourites to send the Rebels into the qualifiers.
Comprehensively beaten in last month’s Division 1 league final by Galway, Michael Ryan’s men will view the Leesiders’ visit as the perfect opportunity to bounce back from their 16-point loss to the Tribesmen while laying down an early marker for the summer.
Target man Seamus Callanan has recently returned to training with the Premier men and while Niall O'Meara is in a race against time to be fit for the Thurles showdown, Donagh Maher and John Meagher are ruled out through injury.
Cork’s league campaign was very much a mixed bag, suffering a surprise quarter-final defeat to Limerick at the beginning of last month, and they enter this provincial last eight clash as 7/2 underdogs.
Tipp dished out a nine-point defeat to Kieran Kingston’s men when these two met on the same stage last year, but Rebels selector Diarmuid O’Sullivan insists it isn’t something they’re reading into ahead of the summer’s first heavyweight clash:
"I'd like to think we have improved. There are very good positives. The group is gelling better and better as the weeks go on, on and off the field,” O’Sullivan stated.
Despite Cork’s progress over the past 12 months, Tipp look likely to demonstrate that they’re still streets ahead of them come throw-in time on Sunday.