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Premier ban blow, Rocky Rebels, huge carrot for Leesiders - Cork-Tipp talking points

A Munster final spot on 2 July is the prize on offer at Páirc Uí Rinn.

THIS EVENING, CORK and Tipperary will battle it out for a spot in the Munster senior football final.

The Rebels host the Premier County at Páirc Uí Rinn, with a place in the 2 July decider on offer for the winners.

In 2016, Tipp famously beat Cork for the first time in 72 years of senior championship football and another win would cement their growing stature.

Rivals bosses Liam Kearns (left) and Peadar Healy.

But Cork have their eyes on a home Munster final, a game that’s tipped to go ahead at the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh, should they get there.

Here, we take a look at the main talking points ahead of what promises to be a fascinating clash…

Evan Comerford’s suspension

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Evan Comerford was a 2016 All-Star nominee but will be suspended from football until mid-August.

The Kilsheelan-Kilcash player was involved in a recent altercation with referee Paddy Russell, and slapped with a 12-week ban that covers all codes.

Comerford’s loss to Tipperary is incalculable, given his ability to instigate attacks with pinpoint kick-outs.

The 22-year-old is also an excellent shot-stopper and a generally commanding figure between the sticks.

But Comerford’s absence presents an opportunity for Ciaran Kenrick, the Moyle Rovers goalkeeper who will make his full championship debut.

Kenrick’s made just one previous summer appearance, as a blood sub against Waterford in 2015.

Rocky Rebels chase revenge

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Cork flirted with real danger against Waterford in the provincial quarter-final, getting out of Fraher Field with just a single-point win.

The below-par nature of that performance could prove a blessing in disguise for the Rebels, however.

They’re under pressure to perform and won’t lack motivation following last year’s shock defeat against Tipperary at Semple Stadium.

Cork surely can’t be as poor again but the flip-side of that argument is perhaps that’s where they are right now, and they might not be capable of improvement.

All will be revealed this evening and Tipp’s injury concerns will provide Cork manager Peadar Healy and his players with further comfort.

Home advantage could prove decisive

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The old saying that home advantage is worth a couple of points could ring true here.

While Cork are coming into this game off the back of a hugely underwhelming display in Waterford, Tipp have worries of their own to contend with.

Tipp achieved victory at Semple Stadium last year and while the common consensus might be that Páirc Uí Rinn is a tighter pitch, there’s not much difference between the two venues in terms of size.

Páirc Uí Rinn’s pitch length is estimated at 145m in length, and 88m wide, compared to Semple Stadium’s 145m length and 90m length.

That should still allow Tipp to play their usual, expansive game but Cork have a point to prove against their neighbours.

Is victory for either team merely delaying the inevitable?

Enda Kenny congratulates Kerry captain Bryan Sheehan Taoiseach Enda Kenny hands over the Munster trophy to Bryan Sheehan following Kerry's victory over Tipp last year. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Cork and Tipp are battling it out for a Munster final spot, with Kerry and Clare on the other side of the draw.

Right now, Kerry, as provincial champions and chasing five-in-a-row, are a step ahead of the rest.

The Kingdom are Allianz League kingpins and many people’s favourites to take Dublin’s All-Ireland title.

Presuming Kerry take care of business in the Clare game, they’ll start as red-hot favourites against Tipp or Cork in next month’s Munster final.

While reaching another provincial decider would represent more progress for Tipp, and thwart a potential traditional final at the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh, it would come as a major surprise if Kerry don’t annex a 79th Munster senior crown.

Tipp’s strength in depth to be tested to the limit

tipp 5 Tipperary quintet Peter Acheson, Colm O'Shaughnessy, Evan Comerford, Ciaran McDonald and Philip Austin (l-r).

Tipp look like going into battle without one-third of last year’s championship team.

Goalkeeper Evan Comerford is suspended, while 2016 captain Peter Acheson is in Dubai.

Ciarán McDonald suffered a recent recurrence of a long-standing hip issue, while Philip Austin is out with a groin problem.

Colm O’Shaughnessy might only be fit enough for the bench and that would leave Tipp down five of the side that progressed to an historic All-Ireland semi-final appearance last year.

Other fringe players will miss out too and manager Liam Kearns, who masterminded Allianz League Division 3 glory last year, will rely on a relatively inexperienced starting 15.

Home Munster final a huge carrot for Cork

Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Privately, Tipp have been riled up by public talk anticipating a Cork-Kerry Munster decider.

It would be a special fixture for the Rebels, the first provincial football decider to be played at the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

The prospect of Cork showcasing their talents at the spanking new venue is sure to have been discussed in the build-up to this semi-final.

And perhaps, with much of their planning devoted to Tipperary, Cork might have simply taken their eye off the ball against Waterford, when they almost fell into a huge trap.

Cork will need a much-improved display to take care of business against Tipp, and big performances are required from their experienced players, who have been accused of lacking leadership.

The criticism of Cork has come hot and heavy recently, most notably from Kerry legend Tomás Ó Sé, but this is a big chance to respond.

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