The Rebels have already beaten Waterford, relieving them of their Munster crown in Thurles on May 22. Since then Cork have beaten Tipperary in the Munster final in what was truly a game of two halves. If they can repeat the form they showed in the first half against Tipp, they should progress. Full forward Brian Corcoran, who picked up a shoulder injury against Tipp, is unlikely to be fit but Cork manager John Allen has an able deputy in Ballyhea’s Neil Ronan.
The second game also promises to be a fascinating tie. Wexford really put it up to Kilkenny in the Leinster final, while Clare had a morale-boosting win over Waterford in the last game in the qualifiers. Can manager Seamus Murphy motivate Wexford once again? I would have to go for Wexford as Croke Park seems to bring out the best in them.
ARMAGH, TYRONE TRY AGAIN
A few weeks back Joe Kernan said that thanks to the new motorway from Dundalk to Dublin he could get from his home in Crossmaglen to Croke Park in 50 minutes without breaking the speed limit. Now he will be joined on the road south on Saturday next by thousands of supporters making their way to Croker for the replay of the Ulster football final between Armagh and Tyrone.
Armagh were lucky to get a second chance and maybe the old statistic of a team who have to play in Ulster’s preliminary round never winning an All-Ireland title will remain intact for another year. Armagh have now played Fermanagh, Donegal twice, Derry and they now they face Tyrone for the second time. And still they are not out of Ulster. Meanwhile Kerry and Galway have had relatively easy passages out of Munster and Connacht respectively.
Tyrone probably feel they blew their best chance on July 10 and Armagh have a habit of being able to bounce back after a bad performance. But they will have to plan without midfielder John Toal, who picked up a bad knee injury in the drawn game. Tyrone’s Peter Canavan is a major doubt, having injured his ribs in the drawn game. Canavan may be the all-time top scorer in Ulster, but in six championship games against Armagh, he has failed to score from play.
It will be interesting to see what size crowd turns up for the sequel on Saturday. Some supporters may find it difficult to get away from their workplaces on Saturday evening. The attendance for the drawn game didn’t reach the record figure of 67,000 set last year, but still the Ulster Council should justify their decision to take the replay away from Clones again, where the capacity is only 35,000.
The drawn Ulster final has forced the postponement of the draw for the fourth round of qualifiers for the All-Ireland football. The draw will now be made on Sunday next. The fourth round qualifiers will be played on the July 30 and Aug. 6. The quarterfinals will then be played on Aug. 7 and Aug. 13. On Aug. 7 Galway will play Cork or the third round winners, while Kerry play Mayo or the third round winners. On Aug. 13 the Ulster and Leinster champions will be in action.
KURTEN TO QUIT — REPORT
Irish showjumper Jessica Kurten is reported to be threatening to quit the Irish team for next month’s Dublin Horse Show, as she is refusing to compete alongside Cian O’Connor. Kurten is obviously annoyed with O’Connor who recently officially lost his Olympic gold medal. If she refuses to ride it could mean the end of her Irish career. Kurten was involved in a doping probe herself earlier this year, but was subsequently cleared.
BETTER — O’DWYER
Laois manager Mick O’Dwyer is a great man to bat for the GAA players, always championing their cause. The Kerryman has often criticized the way the GAA treat intercounty players by giving them a voucher for a drink and a sandwich after a big game in Croke Park. Micko was annoyed that the Laois and Dublin players got only four free tickets each for the Leinster final and reckons that they should get 20 tickets each. O’Dwyer also said: ‘I think that players who qualify for an All-Ireland hurling or football final should get in the region of