LORD Mayor of Cork Colm Kelleher is calling on Corkonians “to paint the town red” in the countdown to the All-Ireland senior hurling final between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park next Sunday.
The Cork senior hurlers are seeking their first All-Ireland title since 2005, when Seán Óg Ó hAilpín catapulted the Rebels to All-Ireland glory.
The Fianna Fáil councillor is now calling on the Cork people to get behind their sporting heroes.
“This hurling team has buoyed up the people of Cork with their amazing skill, focus and determination at a time when we all need some inspiration. All-Ireland hurling finals have been the stuff of dreams in Cork in recent years.
“As we count down to this biggest of sporting days, we need the team to know just how proud we are of them,” he said.
Given the reduced capacity of Croke Park for the final on August 22, tickets are at a premium.
Due to the lower number of supporters who can be in attendance for the match, Mr Kelleher has called on residents, communities, and businesses to paint the town red.
We need the team to know that we will all be glued to the TV, radio, and even our phones for the All-Ireland final. It’s 16 years since Liam McCarthy was in Cork and we must do all we can to support our boys to bring him home.”
Mr Kelleher said City Hall is “evaluating” various options regarding how to mark the return of the Cork senior hurlers from Dublin following the All-Ireland on Sunday.
“Traditionally, it would be City Hall who would take care of the homecoming,” he said.
“With the public health guidelines, the maximum number of people that can gather outdoors is 200. We are evaluating different scenarios in relation to it,” he said.
“Win, lose, or draw, we will welcome them home. It is a massive achievement to make the All-Ireland final. We are very proud of them. We will be guided by public health guidelines and we will know closer to the day.
“The numbers will be limited so it could be a blended affair. This could be half virtual and half in person, or the event could be completely virtual. We are unsure as of yet. We are working on some sort of homecoming,” he added.
CORK Chamber has met the challenge from their Limerick counterparts by agreeing to a friendly ‘flag-off’ in the build-up to the big final on Sunday. The Chamber wants the Cork general public and business community to proudly fly flags, light up their workplaces in red and wear Cork jerseys.
They are encouraging people to post pictures online this week in the lead-up to the big game using #LimerickvCork and tagging @CorkChamber and @LimerickChamber as they bid to win the virtual challenge against their Treaty counterparts.
Cork remains the second most successful senior hurling team behind Kilkenny on the roll of honour.
They have captured the Liam McCarthy Cup on 30 occasions. Cork GAA is thriving at present with the minor and U20 hurling teams having also reached All-Ireland finals this year, while the minor footballers have reached the All-Ireland semi-final.