Open game can see Cork put Waterford scare behind them
Kerrigan can be the star man
Cork v Tipperary
RTE Two, 5pm Saturday
Cork were almost on the receiving end of the biggest shock in recent memory when stumbling over Waterford and the natural thing to do would be to take them on in their Munster semi-final showdown with Tipperary. That might be foolish, though.
There is no doubting that Cork were woeful against Waterford and, given that their opponents finished third from bottom in Division 4 of the league, there is absolutely no excuse for making such hard work of beating them. But that was an entirely different type of test to the one the Rebels are now facing.
Waterford packed their defence, getting 14 men back into their own half and Cork were constantly frustrated. They simply ran out of ideas. But even Dublin lacked inspiration at times against Carlow last Saturday so it can happen to the best of sides.
Cork are better than they looked against Waterford. They have to be. They were unlucky not to gain promotion from Division 2 and drew with Meath and Galway along the way. That is solid form in the context of this clash with Tipperary.
Tipperary reached the All-Ireland semi-final in 2016 but Liam Kearns has been dealt some big blows going into this clash and has been forced into naming four newcomers in his starting 15.
Moyle Rovers duo Ciaran Kenrick and Liam Boland, Golden-Kilfeacle's Shane O'Connell and Liam McGrath from county champions Loughmore-Castleiney will all make their first starts at this level and their inexperience of championship action could cost Tipperary.
Top-class goalkeeper Evan Comerford, serving a 12-week suspension, is a massive loss as his accurate kick-outs were a big asset during their prolonged stay in the All-Ireland race 12 months ago.
Tipperary beat Cork in Munster last year but that was their first win over the Rebels since 1944 and normal service could be resumed at Pairc Ui Rinn.
Paul Kerrigan looks as good as ever and his 1-3 contribution was the key to unlocking Waterford. Paddy Power are offering a special about him scoring a point in each half at 2-1 and that is worth taking given the sizzling form he is in.
If Kerrigan, Colm O'Neill and Mark Collins are on song, Cork ought to have too much class for Tipperary and they are fancied to book their ticket to the Munster final.
3pts 11-10 bet365
P Kerrigan to score a point in both halves
1pt 2-1 Paddy Power