It will take superhuman effort for anyone to beat Cats – McLoughlin
Cork will embrace an All-Ireland quarter-final against Kilkenny, not recoil from it, their midfielder Lorcan McLoughlin has promised.
The disappointment of losing a Munster final to Limerick could be quickly set aside with the knowledge that the All-Ireland champions were waiting for them in the next round and that has helped to focus minds very quickly for them, he said.
It's a match he expects Cork's young players, boosted by the availability of Patrick Horgan, to thrive in.
Horgan was cleared to play after the Central Hearings Committee declared that his red card was not justified against Limerick when they met on Saturday morning.
"I think Cork people love going out playing Kilkenny, because of their tradition and the hurlers they have," said McLoughlin.
"If you look at them from one to 15, they are exceptional hurlers, they are the best team in the country and you want to measure yourself against the best team.
"As a young team that's what you want to do."
Midfielder McLoughlin is looking forward to the personal challenge he faces.
"As a midfielder you are looking at the best midfield pairing with Michael Fennelly and Michael Rice, and they even have Lester Ryan coming into it," he said.
"Whatever pairing they have they are excellent hurlers and it is going to take a huge effort. But I think both teams will bring out the best in each other.
McLoughlin still believes that the reigning champions are the team to beat, despite the emergence of Limerick and Dublin as provincial champions.
"People say Kilkenny are slipping but they are still grinding out games. They seem to be getting a bit of momentum now.
"Whoever beats Kilkenny, it is going to take a superhuman effort. This year, people said more teams have more of a chance than winning than other years.
"But whoever beats Kilkenny, they are going to earn it.
"You could say that (they are more vulnerable), but I think focusing on our point of view, we have a lot of young fellas, they are full of confidence.
It's a simple as that. We want to play teams like this – you want to be playing the Kilkennys, the Tipperarys and the Galways of this world, week in week out. It's the only way you will improve.
"Our lads are brimming with confidence."