Saturday 3 December 2016

Colm O'Rourke: Champions to strut their stuff on grand stage

Cork's new-found confidence can deliver a rare win in Killarney, writes Colm O'Rourke

Published 03/07/2011 | 05:00

Today in the magical setting of Killarney we have the eighth wonder of the world. If the Colossus at Rhodes or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were wonders of the ancient world then a Munster final between the All-Ireland champions and the Munster champions in this great amphitheatre should rank with anything.

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A kind day, a huge expectant crowd and there is no need to hype this up as both sides will go at it with as much zeal as ever before in a Munster final. There certainly will be a 'lá eile' for the loser but there will be absolutely no consideration of that once the battle begins. This is as good a sporting occasion as we can offer in this country.

Cork come as champions. It has been a fairly long and tortuous road to this position. Cork people as a general rule are not inclined to hide their light under a bushel but this team was racked with self-doubt until liberation day last September. They may have only staggered over the line against Down and it is just as well Kerry were not waiting in the short grass in Croke Park on that day. Yet all great teams can trace their ultimate breakthrough to a few seminal moments and for Cork it was taking a dead man's grip on the second half of last year's All-Ireland final.

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