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CATS 22 HORROR FOR TIPP; NHL DIV 1A Cork v Tipp Corcoran: Premier need answers after Kikenny rout.

Byline: PAT NOLAN irishsport@mirror.co.uk

EAMONN CORCORAN is no stranger to painfully long winters having been humbled by Kilkenny.

Back in 2003, two years after they had been crowned All-Ireland champions, Tipperary were handed a 12-point beating by Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final despite leading at half-time.

The exact same circumstances prevailed last year only this time the margin yawned to 18 points - Tipp's worst Championship defeat since 1897.

Corcoran retired in 2008 just as Liam Sheedy's successful era as manager was Sheedys success hha gathering pace, but he can empathise with what his former teammates have been going through ahead of tonight's Allianz League opener against Cork at Pairc Ui Rinn.

fi ld d k gc LCwt "It was the longest winter of my life waiting to get back out on the field and make amends for it," says Corcoran (inset, v Kilkenny in 2003) as he recalls the reverse of a decade ago.

"There were similarities with that performance in 2003 and last year so the players, every one of them are hurting individually and collectively and I think the spectators are hurting as well.

"When you come out of Croke Park and a defeat like that to Kilkenny it really hurts so I think everyone is looking forward to getting back on track, the players more than anyone else."

Declan Ryan has been replaced as manager since by Eamon O'Shea, the cutting-edge coach who was Sheedy's right-hand man for his three seasons in charge, culminating in the 2010 All-Ireland win.

"I wouldn't mind being in the camp at the moment after that performance and the ability that's in the dressing room," Corcoran continues.

"Eamon O'Shea, to me, picked the right time to come in and turn that because they're probably more frustrated themselves than the spectators or anyone looking in at them.

"From what I hear from the camp is that things are good at the moment. They're very happy with the management team but that only counts when performance comes on the field. There's been good camps in the past without results.

"I think we have the e y t l e oe players to put in a very good year and management team to have a successful year for Tipperary. I'd like to see them going on to challenge for the League and win as many games as we can because I don't think in hurling you can turn it on and off."

s t n " And that starts tonight, when Tipp can take their first small step towards redemption against Jimmy Barry-Murphy's side.

Corcoran adds: "Every game they play now, they need to be setting down a marker, especially in Munster because you have Clare coming again now, you have Limerick, Cork are there or thereabouts every year, Waterford likewise, so they'd want to be setting down a marker for the fans."

VERDICT: Tipperary FULL FIXTURES TODAY (7pm)Allianz HL Division 1ACork v Tipperary, Pairc Ui RinnAllianz HL Division 1BDublin v Offaly, Parnell Park Allianz FL Division 2Louth v Galway, Drogheda, 2.30pm; Armagh v Wexford, Athletic Grounds Sigerson Cup final Dublin IT v UCC, AIT, 3pm TOMORROW (2pm)Allianz HL Division 1AClare v Waterford, Cusack Park; Galway v Kilkenny, Pearse StadiumAllianz HL Division 1BCarlow v Wexford, Dr Cullen Park; Limerick v Antrim, Gaelic GroundsAllianz HL Division 2A Kerry v Westmeath, Austin Stack Park, 1pm; Derry v Wicklow, Celtic Park; Kildare v Laois, NewbridgeAllianz HL Division 2BDown v Meath, Pairc Esler; Mayo v Roscommon, Elverys McHale Park; Armagh v London, Athletic Grounds, 1pmAllianz HL Division 3AFermanagh v Tyrone, Brewster Park; Donegal v Monaghan, Letterkenny; Fingal v Louth, Swords Interprovincial SFC final Leinster v Ulster, Croke Park, 3.45pm All-Ireland club JFC final Ballinasloe (Galway) v Kenmare Shamrocks (Kerry), Croke Park TEAM NEWS CORK TIPPERARY A Nash B Cummins S O'Neill P Stapleton S McDonnell P Curran C O'Sullvian C O'Brien S Whtie D Maher C Joyce P Maher W Egan B Maher D Kearney S McGrath L McLoughlin J Ryan P O'Sullivan S Callanan C McCarthy N McGrath C Lehane Pat Maher S Moylan S Bourke L O'Farrell B O'Meara P Horgan J O'Dwyer TV TIMES: Live on Setanta Sports, throw-in 7pm

CAPTION(S):

YEAR TO FORGET Tipperary's 2012 season ended with a heavy loss to Kilkenny s
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Feb 23, 2013
Words:716
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