Cats silence Rebel yells turn the corkscrew
Shock and awe as Kilkenny
As thousands of fans made their way into Croke Park for yesterday's clash between Kilkenny and Cork, few could have predicted the complete destruction they were about to witness.
"I'd say we'll win by five points," Michael Glendon from Johnstown in Kilkenny predicted before the throw-in.
"Cork were well ahead of us in the 1990s, so it's only right we're now coming out on top."
Corkman Tom Leddy was optimistic. "If it stays a tight match, we have a good chance of taking it at the end," he said.
"Just to get to the final would be great. . . but to stop Kilkenny would be a big bonus."
He was referring, of course, to the Cats' bid for an unprecedented five All-Ireland titles in a row.
And so the journey from optimism to despair began. The Rebel yell became Rebel hell. At the end of 70 minutes, Cork had been crushed, pulverised and demolished. Kilkenny were simply awesome.
A 3-22 to 0-19 final scoreline did justice to the almighty power of the Cats.
However, as fan Richie Hogan made his way back to Kilkenny last night with friends Joe Quigley and Francis Leahy, they promised that there would be no celebrations in the county until their team picks up the Liam McCarthy Cup for a record fifth time in a row.
"We'll be able to handle the pressure. It all comes from the media anyway, not from the people in Kilkenny," Richie said.
"There'll be no celebrating, just a deep satisfaction.
"The hunt will be on for tickets (for the final) now."
John Townsend from Callan in Kilkenny believes the county's build-up to the final on September 5 will be a "low key" affair. "There'll be no five-in-a-row songs, anyway. We won't fall into that trap," he said.
"If we win there'll be plenty of celebrations, but not until then. We're used to getting to All-Ireland finals so it's nothing new."
As Corkonians left the stadium in despair, they remained pragmatic in their comments about the match.
"They were far too good for us. The depth they have -- any of their subs would get on our first team," Paul Cotter from Carrigaline said.
For Paul and his friends, it was time to their attention to other things. "We've still the football to look forward to so we should be okay," he said in a reference to the upcoming semi-final with Dublin.