CORK captain Seamus Harnedy’s dismissal during the league against Sunday’s opponents led to a few sleepless nights in the home camp.
If the initial suspension had stood he would have been marked absent for Tipperary’s return to Leeside and his loss would have been considerable.
However, after a successful appeal, he received the green light to play and he’ll be a pivotal figure for the much-awaited encounter with the arch-foe.
“Yes, just can’t wait now for it to start. The excitement is really building up and we know the importance of a home game first of all.
“Tipp also gave us a bit of a doing in the league so this is a challenge that we are all looking forward to.”
The St Ita’s club man admitted that the thought of missing such a crucial encounter was a source of deep concern.
“That (suspension) was hanging over me for a few months and I am just delighted to be available for the day.
“We had put in a lot of hard work in the league. John Meyler has put a lot of emphasis on the league and on strengthening our panel.
“You could see that last year that the game is gone well beyond the 15 and the five players that come on have to perform.
“All the 30 players that come training will have a huge bearing on the championship this year so at the moment the main focus is on May the 12 but we know that we have four very tough games coming up.”
The Cork All-star is well aware that this season’s provincial championship is wide open and getting off to a positive start is key.
“It is an absolute minefield. You can see the strength of Munster in the last few years.
“You could see that in the league as well this year with Waterford making it to the final and progressing along the way.
“We are under no illusions. It will be extremely difficult this year.
“You have to hit the ground running and that is why the squad will play a huge part this year.”
He’s an advocate of the new format in the province too.
“Yes, the round-robin system helps that if you haven’t played well one week you have other opportunities to put that right whereas the old system you could be training hard all season for one or two games.
“That is the beauty of the new system and I don’t think anyone has problems with the new format.
“These are the days that you play hurling for and you must be ready from the word go.”