If you told me a few weeks ago that I’d be here putting together a poll on a Munster football final between Cork and Tipperary, you’d have got the raised eyebrow treatment. But here I am doing just that – what a quare bloody year this is.
This year’s Munster football final takes place on Sunday at Páirc Uí Chaoimh where throw-in is 1.30pm. Our old buddy Maurice Deegan is the ref for it and the match is being broadcast live on RTÉ2.
It’s the first year since 2012 that Kerry – the provincial champions for seven straight years up until this year – won’t feature in the Munster decider. 2012 was also the most recent time Cork won out in the South, beating Clare in that year’s final.
Tipperary’s most recent Munster final appearance was in 2016. Although they were well beaten by Kerry in that decider, that proved a Championship to remember for the Premier County as they made it through Round 4 of the qualifiers before catching Galway cold in the All-Ireland quarter-final. They gave us plenty to think about in the semis too before we eventually got the better of them by five points.
While they often cross swords on Munster’s big day in hurling, Tipp don’t get to play Cork all that often in the provincial football final. The most recent time they did so was in 2002, a match that ended in a draw before the Rebels won by 19 points in the replay, while seven points separated them when they met in the 1994 decider.
You have to go back then to 1943 to find the most recent time before that in which they met in a Munster final – Cork won that one by three points – while the meeting prior to that one was the one in which Tipp last won Munster. That was in 1935 and they beat Cork that day by 2-8 to 1-2.
The two counties know each other better from National League meetings in recent years. The photo at the top is from their Division Three clash in Thurles in February this year, a match in which Cork prevailed by a single point on a scoreline of 3-13 to 0-21.
Cork, of course, won the Division Three title this year – with seven wins from seven starts – and so we’ll be making their acquaintance in Division Two next year. Tipp finished fifth, meanwhile, in the Division Three table on five points.
Sunday’s opponents also met in the League last year and the year before as well. In 2019 they were both in Division Two and the pair of them ended up getting relegated. Cork won when they played each other, again at Thurles, where the scoreline finished 1-12 to 0-12. In 2018 at the old Páirc Uí Chaoimh they also met in Division Two. That day the Premier lads triumphed by 3-16 to 1-16.
In the Munster Championship this year – this month in fact – Tipp have already played twice while Cork have only played once. But, boy, did they play well when they did.
Tipp had a goal to spare over Clare in their quarter-final meeting. After that 2-11 to 1-11 win over the Banner, Tipp then got the better of Limerick by 1-15 to 2-11.
Cork, meanwhile, faced Kerry in their opening Munster outing on an evening when the rain fell at Páirc Uí Chaoimh by the truckload and Kerry spent most of the match messing around with a defensive set-up they wanted to road-test before their inevitable pre-Christmas All-Ireland final meeting with Dublin.
Mark Keane made them pay in spectacular fashion that evening, his late, late strike ensuring that a dreaded penalty shoot-out wouldn’t be needed. That goal also meant that, for the first time since 1999, Kerry wouldn’t be making an appearance in the All-Ireland Series this year.
Instead, Munster will – in a Championship that, due to Covid-19, has this year reverted back to an old-style straight knockout format – be represented in the All-Ireland semi-final, where they’ll face our lads, by either Cork or Tipperary. But which one of them do you think it’ll be? Let’s finish with a vote on that.
Who will we be playing in the All-Ireland semi-final?
- Cork (69%, 722 Votes)
- Tipperary (31%, 324 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,046