BRING on the Dubs! That was the battle-cry from Cork star Brian Hurley after his Man-of-the-Match display in the 4-20 to 1-15 rout of Laois in Thurles on Saturday.
The 27-years-old Castlehaven star maintained his goal-a-game record in the championship with a crucial 2-4 contribution, all from play, as Cork stormed into the Super 8s.
First up are the All-Ireland champions at Croke Park on Saturday evening at 7pm followed a week later against Tyrone at the same venue with a 5pm start.
Cork wrap-up with a visit from Roscommon to Páirc Uí Chaoimh on August 3/4. The top two qualify for the semi-finals.
Hurley increased his goal tally to five in three outings, following on from his two-goal blast against Limerick in the Munster semi-final and he also got on the mark in the final against Kerry.
Coach Ronan McCarthy described it as his best game for Cork since returning from serious hamstring injuries.
“I don’t think people realise the loss he has been to Cork football over the last two years,” he said.
Hurley is relishing the challenge posed by the top team in the country.
“I love playing at Croke Park and I really can’t wait for the game to come around.
“A lot of the lads haven’t played there yet so that adds to the excitement and that’s the way to take it on.
“My last game there was against Dublin in the league in 2015 and that was close.
“You train to play against the best and sure what’s better than playing the Dubs in front of a big crowd at Croker?
“We’re going up there to focus on ourselves. I think we’re coming as a team,” he said.
Hurley struck for his first goal after 30 seconds into the second half and then added a second, six minutes later, as Cork jumped 2-15 to 0-7 clear.
By the time Hurley was replaced by younger brother Michael in the 53rd minute, Cork had raced 3-17 to 0-10 in front.
Brian, though, issued a word of warning despite the 14-point triumph.
“I think there is more in us, to be honest. Defensively, we have a lot of work to do because I don’t think we were up to it. We left Laois through too easily for my liking.”