“Can Cork live with Limerick?” | Diarmuid Sheehan says Cork need to up their physicality if they are to eliminate Limerick

“Limerick can most certainly live with Cork, the question is can Cork live with Limerick?”

Cork native Diarmuid Sheehan believes the Rebels have what it takes to dump Limerick out of the Munster Championship when sides meet this Sunday at 4pm in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

However, the journalist is worried about their ability to put in a performance for the entirety of the game as demonstrated by recent encounters. The Leesdiers have been hit for high scores in short periods of games this year, and have faced uphill battles to get back into games.

Speaking on the Treaty Talk Podcast this week, Sheehan said,

“Cork have in recent years really struggled to put 70 minutes together, they are hugely impressive when they have the ball in hand and running at you, but you can’t do that for 70 minutes. Cork are shipping 1-07 in ten minute periods and they have to do so much to get back into games.”

Sheehan spoke in awe of the current Limerick side, describing the players as members of a “dream team”. With the All-Star awards being Limerick dominated in recent years, and with the collective success the side has seen at both Munster and All-Ireland level, they are still the team to beat despite a slow start to the championship.

Cork have had trimmings at the hands of Limerick in recent years, mainly during the championship but the Rebels have successive league wins over the Treaty and Sunday is going to come down to whether or not Cork can handle Limerick’s physicality.

“Pat Ryan has got them going in the right direction, I think they’ve made substantial leaps forward in their panel, in their tactics. Limerick can most certainly live with Cork, the question is can Cork live with Limerick? The Limerick team that lined out the other day, a lot of them have become household names, when you look at the likes of a Casey, a Morrissey, a Byrnes, a Hannon, a Hegarty, a Lynch, Morrissey, Gillane, Flanagan and Casey, a dream team.”

22 August 2021; Séamus Flanagan of Limerick in action against Robert Downey of Cork during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

While they haven’t made things easy for themselves, Matt O’Callaghan notes how there is a “new found resilience” in this Cork side. While either team may roar out of the blocks on Sunday, it will be the finish that is most vital in the bid to advance to the All-Ireland series as performance levels will need to be held for the entire game.

“It’s who finishes the strongest that ultimately decides most games. The one ingredient Cork are missing is their physicality. Having said that, that has been offset by a new found resilience in Cork. Limerick and Cork have been around for so long, a fast start by one isn’t going to derail the other, I would be far more concerned with a strong finish.”

Matt O’Callaghan

As John Kiely stressed after the draw with Tipperary, the crowd is going to be vital for this weekend’s game, with both sets of fans expected to turn out in force. Kiely’s men and their support definitely would not have envisioned being on the brink of elimination in May, but it has added to the drama and excitement of what has been an excellent Championship so far as Sheehan alluded to.

“There won’t be a ticket to be had. There probably won’t be that many free around Shannonside. I don’t think anyone would have predicted that Limerick would be one game away from going out in May. I don’t think anyone could have asked for this to go any better, it’s been an absolutely savage Championship and it’s going down to the wire.”

Limerick travel to Cork to take on the Rebels in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship this Sunday at 4pm in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

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