Duignan: Midfield advantage to swing it for Cork

Updated: Sunday, 17 Aug 2014 10:19 | Comments

Daniel Kearney and his Cork colleagues are 70 minutes away from a consecutive All-Ireland final appearance
Daniel Kearney and his Cork colleagues are 70 minutes away from a consecutive All-Ireland final appearance

"It's a very hard game to call" was Michael Duignan's first thought ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Cork and Tipperary. 

It's fair to say he would not be alone in that summation. When pressed on which team will come through to face Kilkenny in the decider on 7 September, the Offaly All-Ireland winner goes with Cork to win the midfield battle and that supremacy there will see them over the line.

Across the other sectors on the pitch, Duignan believes there is more of an equilibrium. 

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, he said: "Both teams are a little unsettled at the back and have a couple of newcomers that are going to Croke Park for the first time in an All-Ireland semi-final.

"The respective forward lines have been on fire.

"I think since Tipp came from six down against Galway they've been putting up some huge scores with Noel McGrath, Seamus Callanan, John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer, Lar Corbett and Patrick Maher making it all tick.

"On the Cork side, Pat Horgan, Alan Cadogan, Seamus Harnedy, Conor Lehane and Paudie O'Sullivan have all been playing brilliantly."  

Cork eye final spot

Crucially, though for Duignan, it's the partnership of Daniel Kearney and Aidan Walsh that will be key to deciding the outcome of Sunday's semi-final.

"To me, where Cork have a slight advantage is in the middle of the field," he revealed.

"I think Daniel Kearney and Aidan Walsh have been the best midfield partnership in the country this year. 

"Tipp have been a little bit unsettled there, notwithstanding Shane McGrath having his best game for a long time there the last day [against Dublin].  

"I think the Cork partnership can put four or five points on the board. That's where I think the swing will be. I'm going for Cork to win by three points."    

Watch live coverage of Cork v Tipperary on RTÉ Two from 1445 on Sunday next. Live also on the RTÉ Player and worldwide on GAAGO.

Live radio coverage on RTÉ 1 from 1400. 

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