Hurling & Camogie

Tipperary and Waterford have great chance for a rare All-Ireland final appearance

Galway got the better of Cork three times within a matter of weeks earlier in the season and the sides meet again on Saturday
Galway got the better of Cork three times within a matter of weeks earlier in the season and the sides meet again on Saturday

Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship semi-finals (Saturday, UPMC Nowlan Park, live on RTÉ2)

Tipperary v Waterford (3.30pm)

Galway v Cork (5.30pm)

WHAT an opportunity for Waterford or Tipperary in today’s Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior semi-finals in UPMC Nowlan Park, Kilkenny!  

The pair have avoided the big three of Kilkenny, Galway and Cork and one of these Munster sides will reach a final for the first time in many years.  

The only time that Waterford ever made it to the last game of the season was in 1945, when Antrim beat them in Cappoquin to take the O’Duffy Cup north for the first time.  

Tipperary only won the first of their five titles in 1999, but they haven’t been in a final since 2006. 

Ironically, Antrim were the last opponent for both sides, both ending in emphatic victories.

The last time they met each other was in the Munster semi-final back at the start of May when Tipp won by 4-12 to 1-8 in Páirc Uí Chaoímh. 

Waterford had beaten Cork the week before, a major milestone in their development, but they were very disappointed in not being able to take the next step.

Tipp have also had trouble beating Cork in recent times, but they have taken wins against all the recognised top three counties, albeit not on a consistent basis and certainly not in the latter stages of the championship. 

Of the two games against Antrim, Tipperary looked the more clinical with a huge physical presence throughout the team.

They also had a better spread of scores; while Beth Carton led the Déise line, Cait Devane had great scoring support from Eimear Heffernan and Eimear McGrath with Karen Kennedy marshalling the defence. 

Last year, Waterford won a quarter-final for the first time ever and ran Cork very close in the semi-final. This season they reached the semi-final by topping a group that never really challenged them. 

Carton is going to need a lot more help from 2020 Allstar Niamh Rockett if they are to bring their team to the next level and an All-Ireland final appearance.  

The second match is a repeat of the league final that Galway won, coming from behind to beat Cork.

They had also beaten them in the league round-robin game a fortnight earlier and then went on to inflict more pain by triumphing 1-12 to 0-12 in Athenry in the first round of the championship.  

Three consecutive games within a few weeks and the same result! It will be difficult psychologically for Cork to come back from that! 

Cork though will have benefited from their outing in a quarter-final in Croke Park when they started slowly against Kilkenny, but went on to dominate the game.

A late rally from Denise Gaule closed the gap to a single point, but Cork were the better team. They deserved two penalties in that game, but got neither call and had to battle to get over the line. 

They are a team in transition; the last few years has seen many of the stalwarts of Paudie Murray’s reign retire or pick up injuries. They have had a lot of changes even since last year. But so too have Galway – and Kilkenny. 

Teams that have faced both this year don’t believe they are as far ahead of the pack as they have been during the last decade. But then again either of these two giants can time their run to Croke Park with precision and they have often produced the goods in the latter stages of the championship. 

Verdict Waterford will need to play to their full potential to turn over Tipperary, while Galway should hold too many aces for Cork