BY KIERAN McCARTHY
THE odds are all stacked in Cork’s favour to win Saturday evening’s Munster SFC semi-final against Tipperary in Páirc Uí Rinn, at 5pm, according to Tipp boss Liam Kearns.
The Kerry native is without one third of last year’s Tipp championship team for this battle on Leeside and he also feels that the Rebels, despite the poor nature of the performance, will benefit from their quarter-final win against Waterford a couple of weeks back.
‘Cork have all the advantages,’ Kearns told The Southern Star.
‘We had the advantage of a game against Waterford last year and a home game against Cork, but now Cork have both of those advantages this season – they’ve played Waterford and now have a home game.
‘We weren’t impressive beating Waterford last year and no one gave us a chance of beating Cork, and Cork weren’t impressive against Cork a few weeks ago but you can’t underestimate the value of a championship outing.
‘Cork also have plenty of motivation, too. They’ve been getting a lot of stick since they were beaten by us last year. So when you put that motivation together with the fact that five of our championship team from last year are gone, including players of the calibre of All-Star nominees Evan Comerford and Peter Acheson, and Philip Austin and Ciarán McDonald, everything is stacked in Cork’s favour and, really, they should be winning the game.’
Tipperary will be in Division 2 of the national league next season alongside Cork after Kearns’ men won the Division 3 title this year, but last year’s All-Ireland finalists have been hammered by injuries of late.
‘We’ve been badly hit with injuries. Evan Comerford is out because of a suspension, Ciarán McDonald is out injured, Philip Austin is out injured, Jack Kennedy is out injured, Ian Fahey is out injured, Kevin Fahey is out injured and Willie Connors is out injured – they are all out as in they won’t play any part on Saturday,’ Kearns said.
‘Colm O’Shaughnessy, our regular corner back last year, is only back a couple of weeks.
‘We’ve been badly hit with injuries since the league finished so we’ve had a bad preparation too ahead of this game.
‘We are like every other team, we need all our best players available and we need everything going right heading into the championship.’