Tuesday 12 December 2017

Rebels hope change of strip makes it all white

Cork fans keen to channel spirit of '73 victory

Rocky the Chicken, Ireland's most famous pet predictor, is pictured picking Cork to win the All-Ireland football final at the home he shares with his owner, Elaine McDonald, in Rosetown, Co
Kildare
Rocky the Chicken, Ireland's most famous pet predictor, is pictured picking Cork to win the All-Ireland football final at the home he shares with his owner, Elaine McDonald, in Rosetown, Co Kildare
Cork fans John T O'Leary, Tom Roche and Patrick O'Leary pictured in Silversprings, Cork as they prepare to hit the road to Croke Park

Ralph Riegel

THE county is bedecked in red and white, but it's the latter colour that the team will don on the hallowed turf of Croke Park.

Superstitious Cork fans are clinging to the belief that a change of strip could hold the key to the Rebel County ending their painful 20-year Sam Maguire drought.

Cork will swap their traditional red jerseys for a white playing strip for tomorrow's Croke Park spectacular, which is their third All-Ireland appearance in four years.

The swap was decided amid concerns the counties' traditional jerseys are too similar.

And fans are now attaching special importance to the swap -- given that Cork wore white jerseys in the 1973 All-Ireland football final when they ended a 28-year gap and lifted the Sam Maguire.

More than 40,000 red-and-white clad Cork fans are expected to travel to Dublin for the All-Ireland football showdown with Down.

Despite the fact that Down have never lost an All-Ireland decider, the Rebel army is still convinced that 2010 is the year for their seventh Sam Maguire.

Despite this, a few hardy Down souls are determined to fly their county's flag in Cork.

Millstreet Community School's John Magee is intensely proud of his Mourne Mountains roots and will be cheering on Down despite his admission that he loves living in north Cork.

"They are quietly confident of a Cork victory, but I think Down will hold a surprise up their sleeve," he said.

Proudly

And despite the fact that Millstreet, Charleville, Kanturk and Newmarket are a sea of Cork flags, he has proudly adorned his car and home in the Down colours.

"It's all in good nature," he said.

In Mallow, Brian Quinn will be proudly wearing his Down jersey tomorrow -- despite the fact his entire family will be cheering on Cork.

One bakery in the football-mad town of Macroom hit upon a novel way of showing their support for the Rebels.

The Next Door Cafe -- located beside Macroom Castle -- baked an entire team of gingerbread men, all resplendent in their Cork jerseys. "We could have sold hundreds of them," one staff member laughed.

For those wanting to head to the match, Croke Park tickets are fetching almost €400 on the internet auction site eBay.

Cork senior football selector and Dromtarriffe native Ger O'Sullivan said demand for tickets was perhaps the most intense ever experienced in the county.

The exodus is expected to exceed even the attendance at the two 'all Munster' finals over recent years in which Cork lost out to Kerry. Virtually every seat on each airplane, bus and train out of Cork is booked out.

Iarnrod Eireann's Andrew Roche said there had been phenomenal demand for weekend travel to Dublin -- with five extra trains being laid on between Kent and Heuston stations.

AA Roadwatch has also advised fans driving to the final to allow plenty of time for their journey -- and to remember that tough parking restrictions will be in place in Drumcondra around Croke Park.

Irish Independent

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