THIS Sunday, July 29, sees Semple Stadium in Thurles play host to a mouth-watering double header, with Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Kilkenny all vying for semi-final berths.
First up sees the pairing of old rivals Cork and Waterford, with throw-in at 2pm. The Rebels, under the careful eye of legend Jimmy Barry-Murphy, will be keen to continue their recent run of impressive performances.
Barry-Murphy has caused a few upsets since his appointment, axing previous stalwarts in favour of introducing younger blood to his team. Up to now, this has perhaps proven to be a wise decision, with players such as William Egan and Luke O’Farrell relishing their opportunities to don the red jersey.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Barry-Murphy said that some of his hurlers are indeed unhappy not to make the starting 15, but insists that this is what he wants.
“When I was involved with Cork before, we had a very set panel and team, and you didn’t have the spread of players you’d like to have,” the St Finbarr’s man continued.
“The game has changed so much now – the intensity is huge and fitness levels are massive, and no team finishes a game now without using 19, 20 players.”
“There are players who’d like to have more game time, but we’re prepared to change the team if we feel it’s necessary for the next day,” he added.
Cork’s Brian Murphy spoke to Hogan Stand, and admitted that even though the Deise hed the upper hand in previous clashes, many of the current Cork panel have never even togged out against Waterford before.
“We played them twice in 2005, in 2006, three times in 2007, and twice in 2010,” the Bride Rovers man explained.
“We have a very different team now compared to a few years ago. A lot of the lads wouldn’t have even played against them. We can’t forget that when it comes to preparing for the game.”
“Not only have some of the lads probably never played against Waterford, some of them might be even too young to have seen the 2004 Munster final, for instance,” the defender finished.