'We're going in this year under massive pressure' - Maguire on Cork's need to perform in the championship
Cork footballer Ian Maguire feels pressure to produce results in this year's championship, with the Rebels' last provincial title drought stretching back to 2012.
The Cork footballers started their Division Two campaign with a brilliant win against Fermanagh, but a string of defeats meant they were destined to drop to the third tier in football, losing out on head-to-head against Clare.
It is the first time in their history that the Cork footballers made the drop to Division Three, and this is disappointing for a county with All-Ireland ambitions, being one of only four counties - Dublin, Kerry, Donegal, Cork - to win the Sam Maguire in the last decade
A county with 37 Munster titles and seven All-Irelands brings with it an added pressure to perform and produce results, as Maguire and his team-mates know only too well.
"We're going in this year under massive pressure, in terms of the public eye getting results," Maguire said, speaking to Munster GAA.
"But I think this group has nothing to fear, we're just training hard at the moment and relishing the big opportunity that's in front of us."
Ronan McCarthy's Leeside men take on Limerick in the Munster football semi-final following the Treaty's shock victory against Tipperary at the quarter-final stages.
"This Munster championship is obviously very important," he said. "We went into it last year as underdogs against Tipperary and we relished that role.
"We went into the Munster final and I thought training was going very good. But Kerry had that bit of cuteness on the line and they were just firing on all cylinders and were on a different level than what we were at."
After a disappointing Division Two league campaign for Cork, Maguire says the way the team recovered towards the latter stages shows the 'resilience' in the team.
"Kildare were probably there for the beating in the second game and that was probably when we collapsed a small bit, and it kind of went downhill from there, but what's not being said about the group is that they're actually a very resilient group of players and with three games left we turned it around," he added.
"It would be easy to point at all the negatives in the league but I think we as a group chose to focus on our last three performances and what we could achieve in the summer, based off those three performances."
Maguire recalled the the 2016 All-Ireland qualifier between the sides and noted that the Treaty men put it up to a Cork outfit who went on to give Mayo an extra-time scare, as the men from the west sluggishly pushed towards an All-Ireland final appearance.
"Limerick are always going to bring the fire and with the hurling success they've had last year, that might spur them on in football," Maguire said.
"There's Dara Treacy there, who I know. I would have played with him with CIT. He's a very good player and he'd be a main player for them."
Kerry face Clare in the other side of the draw, with both matches throwing in at 7pm on Saturday. Kerry travel to Ennis, while Cork host Limerick in Pairc Ui Rinn.