Eoin Kelly: Expect a far tighter affair than the last time Tipperary met Cork

The Tipperary legend and two-time All-Ireland winner looks forward to Sunday’s Under 21 decider as his beloved county faces up to Cork…


There’s good character in that Tipperary squad, I know there were a couple of changes made the last day in the semi-final against Galway and I’m not too sure that the management have even finalised their strongest team yet this season.

They’ve played Cork already and they know that The Rebels created a lot of space against them in the Munster final.

If they set-up like that again it’ll be the same result, so they need to change that. They played a subtle seventh defender in the Galway tie and that seemed to work.

The match is not on in Pairc Uí Chaoimh this time around and it’ll be interesting to see the state of the Gaelic Grounds after Limerick’s homecoming celebrations. So, that all adds up to the Munster final winning margin for Cork of 13 points being narrowed.

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It’s also the first time ever a team will get a second chance to play an opposition side in an All-Ireland Under 21 final that has already beaten them.

It’s all uncharted territory, which I believe Tipperary manager Liam Cahill will be happy with.

Cork will still be roaring favourites, a lot of their u21 players are household names and if they’re allowed the space Tipp gave them before, then they’ll cause absolute havoc.

It’s a big match for both teams, because from a Tipp point of view they are definitely looking for new blood for the senior team.

While Cork will be hoping that their star u21s kick on, and they’re also seeking two or three youngsters that they can add to their senior panel.

It really is a tough ask for Tipp though, and they’re going to have it all to do.

Tipp need it tight from the throw-in

Tipperary need to keep it tight in the opening period of the game. If Tipp can get to half-time with not too much between the teams, I reckon they’ll be very happy with that.

I expect them to have plenty bodies at the back and to be a bit more physical than they were in the Munster final. Hopefully, they’ll have learnt from that experience.

Cork manager Denis Ring will be hoping to have Declan Dalton back, he’d be a big loss should he miss out after being very effective in the last couple of games.

I don’t believe Tipp will fear Cork and I’m expecting a much better game than the last one.

Cork should win though, but it’s probably a win-win for Tipp going into it. If they perform and only lose by a few points, that’s still a very good season for them.

What they don’t want is anything like the beating they got from Cork in the Munster final. I don’t think that will happen this time around though.

Cahill might get the call

If Tipperary win the All-Ireland U21 final, Liam Cahill will probably follow the route John Kiely did with Limerick to the senior job.

However, as I’ve said before with these management issues – and you saw it illustrated in Declan Hannon’s All-Ireland winning speech last Sunday – it’s all about the backroom team you put together these days.

You heard all the praise for Limerick’s backroom team throughout that speech and a manager’s job these days is to put a top-class team together behind the scenes.

You can’t just pick a manager anymore, you have to see what package they are bringing with them now.

Everyone knows that overseeing a senior intercounty team is a full-time job. Gone are the days when a manager and two or three selectors looked after the team.

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What do you think?