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The first Munster Final without Kerry since 2012 is the one with the highest reward. The winner of Cork vs Tipperary will go straight to an All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo on the 6th of December. Tipperary played Mayo at that stage of the competition in 2016 but should this fixture come around again they’ll fancy their chances even more. Meanwhile, Cork haven’t been in an All-Ireland semi-final since 2012.
Fighting for the Final
There is little need for a reminder about how Cork got to this final. Their last-minute defeat of Kerry is one of the greatest GAA upsets in recent memory. After salvaging extra-time, Cork looked as if they were finally beat when the clock was in the red and Kerry had a two-point lead. However, the script wasn’t written in stone and Mark Keane emerged as the Rebels’ saviour. Luke Connolly backed himself from far out on the left-hand side to kick the equaliser but his shot was short. Thankfully, Keane was in the right place and he plucked the ball out of the Páirc Uí Chaoimh floodlights and poked it goalwards. As a result, Cork march on and the 2019 runners-up won’t be heard from again in 2020.
There was similar drama in the other Munster semi-final. Tipperary went in as favourites. But, as time was up they were a point-down and had a free from the sideline in the Limerick ’45. Conor Sweeney fancied it and rightly so. A sweet strike with the outside of his left foot hit the post and went over. Next, extra-time continued in that same manner. The Championship’s first-ever penalty shoot-out seemed certain but Brian Fox had other ideas. The Premier County veteran kicked a point in injury time that Limerick could not cancel out.
Now, Tipperary have a golden opportunity to win their first Munster title since 1935. They enter the game as underdogs though given the manner in which Cork won their semi-final.
Ronan McCarthy will expect his Cork team to lift the Munster Cup after dethroning Kerry. However, Tipperary have the players to upset the Rebel parade. Last time out both Cork and Tipperary displayed huge amounts of heart and desire to win. It may take the same sort of display again to separate these teams.
With that in mind, both managers will be glad for the two-week recovery their players have had.
The Munster Final is live on RTÉ on Sunday.
Cork are 11/5 favourites with Paddy Power versus Tipperary’s 4/1. A draw is 12/1.
Prediction: Cork. It may be another game that requires extra-time. But, Cork will be desperate not to let such a remarkable opportunity to go abegging.
Cork : Michael Martin, Kevin O’Donovan, Maurice Shanley, Paul Ring, Tadgh Corkery, Sean Meehan, Mattie Taylor, Ian McGuire, Killian O’Hanlan, John O’Rourke, Colm O’Callaghan, Ruairi Deane, Mark Collins, Brian Hurley, Luke Connolly
Tipperary : Evan Comerford; Alan Campbell, Jimmy Feehan, Colm O’Shaughnessy; Bill Maher, Kevin Fahey, Robbie Kiely; Steven O’Brien, Liam Casey; Conal Kennedy, Michael Quinlivan, Emmet Moloney; Brian Fox, Conor Sweeney, Colman Kennedy.
Subs: Michael O’Reilly, Tadhg Fitzgerald, Daire Brennan, Colin O’Riordan, Padraic Looram, Paudie Feehan, Sean O’Connor, Philip Austin, Jason Lonergan, Shane Foley, Liam Boland.
Munster Football Final: Cork vs Tipperary, Sunday, 22nd November, 13:30 (Páirc Uí Chaoimh).
— The GAA (@officialgaa) November 17, 2020