Hurling and camogie

Championship Matchbox: Cork can keep Banner away from Munster title

Colm Spillane has been in fine form for Cork so far this summer

Munster SHC final: Clare v Cork (tomorrow, Semple Stadium, 4pm, live on RTÉ2)

CLARE will be hoping Donal Óg Cusack’s knowledge of the Cork set-up will prove invaluable to them in tomorrow’s Munster final.

The Banner county didn’t trail from the fourth minute on against Limerick in their Semple Stadium semi-final, but the Treaty did make them sweat with a late, late onslaught following a 70th minute goal from Kyle Hayes.

Ultimately, the class of Shane O’Donnell, who scored two first-half goals, and Conor McGrath up front was enough to see Clare through to tomorrow’s final. Following the game, however, former Limerick captain Donal O’Grady said he wouldn’t fear Clare “one bit” and that they had “plenty to work on” if they are to reach the level of genuine All-Ireland contenders.

Cork, on the other hand, were outstanding in their unexpected wins over All-Ireland champions Tipperary and a fancied Waterford side. Reinvigorated by the likes of Mark Coleman, Colm Spillane and Daragh Fitzgibon, the Rebels have gone from outsiders to pretenders to the throne in next to no time.

While Clare have undoubted quality in the likes of Tony Kelly and Podge Collins, the Cork forward line of Conor Lehane, Patrick Horgan, Séamus Harnedy and Alan Cadogan looks formidable.

While the Banner will be boosted by the news Collins and David McInerney are both likely to be available, Cork should follow up those wins over Tipp and the Déise to keep Clare waiting for a first provincial title since 1998.

ODDS: Clare 11/10; Draw 8/1; Cork 10/11



All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers round two: Dublin v Tipperary (today, Semple Stadium, 5pm, extra-time if necessary)

TIPPERARY defeated Westmeath in Thurles last weekend, but it was a no frills attached type of victory.

Dublin blitzed Laois in their encounter, with Éamon Dillon and David Treacy particularly impressive. However, the fact there are 17 league matches going ahead in Dublin this evening must surely have a negative impact.

Tipp have stuttered this summer and Séamus Callanan is yet to rediscover the form of 2016, but this game is theirs to lose.

ODDS: Tipperary 1/14; Draw 16/1; Dublin 9/1

VERDICT: Tipperary


Kilkenny v Waterford (tonight, Semple Stadium, 7pm, extra-time if necessary)

WATERFORD lost to Cork in the Munster Championship, but the Déise were far from terrible on the day.

Stephen O’Keefe was solid in nets, Jamie Barron was impressive at midfield and Austin Gleeson struck six points. If they can add to that against Kilkenny with big games from Pádraig Mahony and Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, they stand more than a fighting chance.

Michael Fennelly, Paddy Deegan and Walter Walsh ran the show for the Cats last time out against Limerick and they will need to be on their game again tonight.

ODDS: Kilkenny 5/6; Draw 9/1; Waterford 5/4

VERDICT: Waterford

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