HAVING made his championship debut in 2003, Tom Kenny is Cork's longest-serving player, and, while he has two All-Ireland medals to his credit, he clearly savoured last Sunday's win over Clare as much as anyone else on the team.
His reaction after the game said it all, as, beaming from ear to ear, he stated that it was a great feeling to be looking forward to a Munster final for the first time since 2010.
"We haven't won one since 2006, and everyone was writing us off against a Clare side that had beaten us twice in the league, but the championship is the only thing that matters, and you could see how the hard training over the last eight or nine weeks paid off for us. Okay, you go out to do your best in the league, but it's well documented that we weren't as fit as we could have been, and we're not losing any sleep about being relegated."
The evergreen Grenagh clubman, who played a leading role at wing back in a Cork rearguard that did well to limit Clare's progress in the first half, stressed how important it was not to concede a goal before the break.
"We were four points down at one stage, and we could have been in real trouble but for Anthony (Nash) who made a couple of fantastic saves. We were confident enough at half-time time, but we were very focused as well, because we knew that the wind never wins a match for you and that we needed to work every bit as hard in the second half. We did that, and we got three quick points to draw level, and we tacked on about four or five more to give us a lead that we held until the finish.
"I thought everyone contributed to what was a tremendous team effort, with Jamie Coughlan excelling after he came on, and even the lads who didn't get a run egged us on going out for the second half which meant a lot. It's Limerick in the Munster final now, they were fantastic against Tipp in the semi final, and we are going to have to knuckle down hard again over the next few weeks.
"They haven't won a Munster title for a good few years, so there's going to be a new name on the trophy for the first time in a while, and hopefully it will be us. We're certainly delighted with today, the sun is shining, we have qualified for a Munster final, and you couldn't ask for too much more than that."