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Cork and Limerick battle it out for a spot in the last four

corks brian hurley pic seamus loughran.
Shaun Casey

THE all-Munster clash of Limerick and Cork is an intriguing match up as it's hard to tell where both teams are at the minute.

Up until the provincial decider, everything was positive in the Treaty County. They'd earned promotion to Division Two, got a run out in Croke Park and defeated both Clare and Tipperary to reach the Munster final.

And then they ran into Jack O'Connor's well-oiled Kerry machine who cut Limerick open like a hot knife through butter and ended the game with 23-points to spare. Admittedly, Billy Lee's men weren't expected to dethrone the Kingdom, but that kind of setback can take the wind from a team's sails fairly quickly.

Cork suffered defeat at the hands of Kerry as well but for long periods they showed they were at least able to compete. The Rebels flooded the defence, played with an intensity and an aggression that you would expect in a derby game, and they frustrated their opponents for long spells.

Eventually the class of Jack O'Connor's men shone through, but Cork left Páirc Uí Rinn that day buoyed by their ability to put it up to the front runners for Sam Maguire. They also had a chance to draw a line in the sand, reset and go again against Louth last weekend.

Mickey Harte's side were the team getting bodies behind the ball this time around, but Cork did enough to get through the game and have attacking quality that would trouble any defence in Ireland.

Brian Hurley has been a mainstay in the team while Steven Sherlock and Cathail O'Mahony demonstrated against Kerry the quality they have, although O'Mahony was replaced at half time against the Wee County so his availability this weekend is unclear.

Cork won the most recent championship meeting between the pair when they faced off in the semi-final of Munster last season. Without the scoring power of Sherlock and O'Mahony, Cork still racked up 1-16 and won by eight points.

Limerick have no doubt improved and will be motivated to showcase their talents against a team that they will compete against in next year's league. The scoring power in their half back line was one of the few positives to take for their roasting off Kerry with Cian Sheehan and Iain Corbett attributing 0-5 of their 0-8.

This game could go right down to the wire but if Limerick haven't dealt with their Munster final ghosts properly, Cork should find themselves in the last eight.

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