Cork vs Tipperary U-21 Hurling preview by Lonesharkoy and he s going for the Premier to cause a 9/2 surprise.
There aren’t too many times when I would say this, but it’s really hard to understand the pricing for this game – Cork should be favourites, absolutely, but odds of 1/6 and 1/5 in places seem incredibly short.
For years, a basic tenet that I used to hold onto was that no minor team should be any shorter than 1/5, since the unpredictable nature of teenagers is such that it’s impossible to rule out an implosion in any or even no circumstances. Obviously an U-21 side has a lot more maturity, but the same principle applies – these are mainly young players who are breaking new ground in a contest of this level of importance, and they’re still prone to bad days for either personal reasons or because of their inexperience. The art of working your way into a game and putting in a seven out of ten performance on a day when it’s not happening for you is often the difference between talented players and the real elite, and it’s a skill that’s only learned with the aid of time.
There are two reasons why the bookies have seen fit to install such lopsided pricing. First is the Munster final result, and there’s no doubt that this has to be seen as a huge factor, even though Tipperary manager made some significant enough changes to his panel and his team in the light of that result. People are also looking at the form, and how Tipperary scraped by Galway, who in turn had almost nothing to spare over Wexford.
In contrast, Cork crushed Wexford, and looked like they were on a completely different level. That they may be, but two big wins isn’t really enough to justify that line of thought, they’d need to perform at that level consistently for some time.
Cork also have a fair amount of star quality in their team, with Darragh Fitzgibbon, Shane Kingston and senior panellists Robbie O’Flynn and Tim O’Mahony all available for selection. Yet if we were to use this yardstick, Kilkenny would have fared a lot better this year, since they had several senior panellists available to them, players who had proven that they weren’t just makeweights at the top level as well.
Certainly when it comes to the establishment counties, there tends to be sufficient depth there to ensure that at least a couple of players force their way into the reckoning for senior selection, while even those players that are a little off that standard still have good players around them.
We’ve seen that in the way that Tipperary shook up their panel after the Munster defeat and the players they brought in look well capable of making a significant difference to the team’s prospects. If an Offaly or a Laois had to do that to bolster the panel, they’d struggle to find any player (particularly a defender) that would be even closer to the standard required. They few they have have been fully worked out already.
Galway were way short of star quality but they won a Leinster title, comprehensively beating Kilkenny along the way, so they too proved that it’s not all about having the next Great White hope in your team, it’s about having a balanced group.
Tipperary have that, they have the motivation of knowing that the minors of 2016, when they won the All-Ireland, will be the only group that won’t get the chance to play at the next grade up at a higher level. Next year hurling will move to U-20, and a lot of good Tipp lads who are now 20, will be overage for that competition. They need to win now and if the sight of a Cork jersey doesn’t rile them up, nothing will.
On the strength of the results so far this year, Cork should be favourites. Their best players have an edge at this age group, they’ve a noticeable edge in terms of the physicality, and they are very fit. But that’s not the way Cork vs Tipperary games tend to work out, and when a bit of momentum goes one way or another, that team could be hard stopped.
Tipperary to win at 9/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power