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JBM: It would be huge if we can beat Tipp

By Declan Bogue

It's almost become a cliché to talk about how welcoming and gentlemanly Jimmy Barry-Murphy is.

Three years into his second spell as Cork hurling manager, he continues to astound everyone in the game with his adaptability, yet still retain some strong core values.

With a Munster title in the bag from defeating Limerick earlier this summer, he is bidding to lead the Rebels to their second consecutive All-Ireland final when they face down ancient foes Tipperary this Sunday in Croke Park.

And while a growing number of inter-county football managers have used the media to get a message out there about future opponents, or even to slightly lean on a referee, JBM steadfastly refuses such an approach.

That doesn't mean he doesn't take his job seriously.

"I couldn't be more serious about trying to beat Tipperary, I can tell you. It would be a huge occasion for us," he said at the recent Cork press event.

He expanded on this, saying: "I think every team and every management team have to look after their own corner. I try and prepare the team in a very, very positive way.

"Someone asked me before the Clare game was there a revenge factor for last year. I don't see that as being of any relevance whatsoever.

"I have the height of respect for all the counties we were playing. I have had no hassle whatsoever with people on the line, despite what some people might think. I think I'd be very slow to get into any kind of mind games stuff. I don't believe in it and I don't agree with it."

That kind of positive energy along with a stellar playing career in both codes has meant he has always been not only adored by the Cork sporting public – who place him right there on a pedestal with Sonia O'Sullivan and Roy Keane – but he has always played the dual player debate well. After all, he was that soldier.

Damien Cahalane, Aidan Walsh and Eoin Cadogan are now the men trying to serve two masters, but JBM says each individual should be allowed the freedom to make their own decisions.

"Every player is an individual in his own right and I'm sure the footballers will look at it and we'll look at it," he said.

"From our point of view we felt we needed the lads at the start of the year. They were a great boost to us and a great boost to the panel as regards increased competition for places and you've seen the displays that Aidan and Damien have given.

"Eoin hasn't got as much opportunities because he had a lot of injuries and really hasn't played as much hurling as he would have liked."

Cork are going to need everything for this game, the first time the famed Cork-Tipp rivalry comes to Croke Park, a not insignificant factor according to the Rebels boss.

"I think I'd rather play them in Croke Park than in Thurles, to be honest, because I think any home game is always a help. You saw with us in the Munster final, you saw it in Limerick last year when we lost. Home advantage is huge."

Strap yourself in for another epic to follow last Sunday's.

Belfast Telegraph


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