Hurling Bliss

Only 13 sleeps to go to the All-Ireland hurling final! Most of us would love to savour the feeling for another month or two. There’s nothing like the high you get after a monstrous Cork victory in Croke Park like the one last Sunday.

Bouncing around on the tips of your toes all week, chest out, arms swinging, beaming from ear to ear as you strut around town – saluting people you’re not even sure you know hoping they might stop for a chat about Shane Kingston’s points or Jack O’Connor’s goal.

And, of course, when we said All-Ireland hurling final above, we should have said All-Ireland senior hurling final because it’s important to make the distinction. Our under-20s are in an All-Ireland hurling final too (next Tuesday at 7.30pm on TG4) after winning the 2020 edition of the competition a few weeks back.

It could be hurling nirvana on Leeside if this run of success keeps going.

It has been 8 years since we were in an All-Ireland senior final – after a two week build up to the 2013 drawn final with Clare the replay was pushed into the following month. We were blessed with a grand total of SIX weeks to revel in the possibility that Cork were just 70 minutes from bringing Liam McCarthy back home. Even though we didn’t win, we happily wallowed in the buzz of both build ups.

This time it’s just a two week turn-around and the winners will be decided on the day with extra time if necessary (there’ll be no replay for love nor money, unless they are still going at midnight) so we need to revel in every minute of what’s left of the short run into this year’s final. Even when you’re asleep you should be dreaming about Hoggie going up the steps to receive Liam McCarthy Cup!

Nothing brings Cork together like a hurling All-Ireland and as a city and county we need to make the most of the positive civic pride that goes with it.

The amazing thing about an All-Ireland hurling final is how those who mightn’t appear to have a whole lot of interest in the sport suddenly get into it.  

Devoted Munster rugby fans from Leeside, die-hard Cork City FC supporters and those who pay the GAA little or no attention for most of the year, morph into hurling fans on The Big Day.

Unlike professional games where players are bought and sold, we’re all only a few personal connections away from a Cork player or someone on the management team regardless of whether we pay the sport much attention or not so it’s easier to feel connected to it – especially when there’s a sniff of glory.  

In fairness, what Corkonian hasn’t become a “HUGE” rowing fan in the last couple of weeks! It’d be interesting to find out how many google searches for embarrassing things like “what are the hurley yokes that they row boats with called?” were made after Paul, Fintan and Emily bagged medals in Toyko.

Even those who seem to be unaware of any sporting activity outside of watching endless English Premier League matches on TV will dig an old Cork jersey out of the attic to jump on the bandwagon.  

It’s often seen as a negative, but it shouldn’t be - the Cork hurling bandwagon is there to be jumped on and everyone should be welcomed aboard regardless of whether they’ve stood in an arctic gale at a pre-season Munster Senior League game in Mallow and (proudly) spent a week next to a radiator afterwards or if they’re the type of ‘sunshine supporter’ that has to ask how many steps you can take with the ball in hand (it’s four for every county except Limerick who are allowed to take 12).

We need to get the red and white bunting and flags out all over the city and county to get as many Corkonians on the Rebel Bandwagon as we can. Snazz up your car, deck out your house, decorate your shop windows and wear your Cork geansaí with pride!

While you’re at it paint your dog and spray paint your mog (in real life experiments we’ve found that Cats are not as receptive to red and white as dogs -  must be the Kilkenny connection).

Don’t forget to devour the Echo sports pages and all the banter on the PROC sports forum too (some members who correctly predicted the outcome against Kilkenny are predicting Cork will win the final too).

Get excited. Get nervous and jittery. Get worked up. Sure, that’s what it’s all about!
M’on the Rebels!