Ireland’s two biggest cities go head to head in the All-Ireland Hurling Championships semi-finals on Sunday.
Dublin, whose last title came before the Second World War, meet Cork who pulled off the shock of the tournament by deservedly beating hurling greats Kilkenny in the quarter-finals.
The capital side earned a morale-boosting win in the Leinster final, their first success in 42 years, and will be looking to continue their fine run by winning the All-Ireland Championships .
Dublin’s best chance of victory lies with their physical approach given their opponent’s youthful setup. A bit of intimidation early on should stop the sprightly youngsters dictating play as they did in the quarter-finals.
They find themselves in the strange position of not being overwhelming underdogs, and a key to their success will be how they cope with the pressure of playing at Croke Park in front of thousands of fans.
After knocking the favourites out, Cork deserve to progress to the final but all they’ve done is made their tournament rivals even hungrier for success.
The loss of Kilkenny makes the tournament even more important for the remaining four sides in the draw. It might be a while before any of these teams are presented with such a clear path to glory although how the Cats respond to their worst season in years will also be a factor.
The youthful Cork side that progressed to the semi-finals looks capable of creating another successful period for the club who, despite being one of the game's great sides, have struggled recently.
They suffered semi-finals disappointment last year but are much better prepared this time around.
They've named an unchanged side from their win at Kilkenny, according to GAA, which means they will lack a physical edge and have to rely on their tireless running to breakdown the Dublin defence.
Most bookies have the clash down at a 50-50 split meaning we can expect a close-fought match and, despite hurling being a frantic sport, this contest might actually turn into a cagey affair with both sides boasting solid defensive records.
Up for grabs is a final spot against the winners of Limerick vs. Clare in the other semi-final.
Prediction: Cork win. This is tough to call but their quarter-final victory over Kilkenny should give the momentum to progress.
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