Even when Tipperary are reigning champions, the proximity of Kerry and Cork to one another tends to dominate the discussion of a Munster SFC draw.
his year, despite the potential for them to meet shy of a provincial final, Cork and Kerry have been kept apart.
Should they meet in July, the Munster final will be played in Killarney, where Cork have not beaten Kerry in Championship football since 1995.
Meanwhile, Tipp, for their follow-up act, will almost certainly have to take out both were they to retain the Munster title.
It’s a hefty task.
David Power was recently quoted as saying the League was Tipperary’s priority in 2021. He insisted in the same interview, that “people won’t be expecting much out of us,” come summer.
But it will, regardless of anyone’s expectations, be a monumental day for the Tipperary footballers to take on Kerry as Munster champions.
That’s assuming Peter Keane’s team take out Clare first.
Colm Collins is now Gaelic football’s longest-standing inter-county manager and notably, last year was the first of his highly progressive reign in Clare that the Banner did not win a championship match.
But given the way in which Kerry’s 2020 finished and the internal rancour that followed, it’s hard to see them being caught twice in two years.
Kerry could only partly blame the extreme elements for their dramatic loss to Cork last year.
In fact, who blamed who for what exactly became the subject of wildfire rumour in those weeks afterwards.
But it would be wholly unrealistic to expect a Kerry camp without an All-Ireland in seven years – and only one in a dozen seasons now – to be completely content with itself.
Kerry then, are cloaked in mystery heading into this year’s Munster SFC. But Cork represent an even greater enigma.
Promotion, albeit from the relative backwater of Division 3, and a first Championship win over Kerry since 2012 should have made 2020 an unqualified success but defeat to Tipp in Páirc Uí Chaoimh stung.
Now, they must negotiate Limerick or Waterford before thinking about a crack at revenge against Tipp or, more likely, a Munster final against a similarly wounded Kerry in a ground that has traditionally been a wasteland to their championship aspirations.
Manager: Colm Collins (8th season)
Last title: 1992
Number of titles: 2
First game: v Kerry, q-final
Manager: Ronan McCarthy (4th year)
Last title: 2012
Number of titles: 37
First game: v Waterford/Limerick, s-final
Manager: Peter Keane (3rd year)
Last title: 2019
Number of titles: 81
First game: v Clare, q-final
Manager: Billy Lee (5th year)
Last title: 1896
Number of titles: 1
First game: v Cork/Waterford, s-final
Manager: David Power (2nd year)
Last title: 2020
Number of titles: 10
First game: v Clare/Kerry, s-final
Manager: Shane Roynane (1st year)
Last title: 1898
Number of titles: 1
First game: v Limerick, q-final
2021 MUNSTER SFC DRAW
Quarter-finals (June 26/27):
Clare v Kerry
Waterford v Limerick
Tipperary v Clare/Kerry
Cork v Waterford/Limerick
Final (July 24):
Clare/Kerry/Tipperary v Cork/Waterford/Limerick