FOR anyone with a bad heart... watching the Cork hurlers is not for you.
Anyone else who wants to be entertained, forget the World Cup and watch the Rebels in action. Without a doubt, this new round-robin format has been a massive success and Cork have been involved in four great games.
Those who were lucky enough to be at the Tipp or Limerick games saw hurling at its best, end to end stuff, with sublime scores along the way. They weren’t games for the faint-hearted, but for lovers of the game, you couldn’t have asked for much better.
The same could be said of Sunday's encounter with the Déise, who for a side that had nothing at stake must be applauded for their approach and they certainly didn’t make the trip to Thurles just to make up the numbers.
In fairness to them, they were probably the better of the sides early on and deserved to be in front at half-time.
But then, just like other games the Rebels rose to the challenge and finished strongly, with final four points to see them back in the Munster final to defend their title.
Afterwards, Christopher Joyce was, naturally delighted to be there, but was also well aware of the challenge they will have against Clare and said they were still searching for a full 70-minute performance.
“I thought the round-robin was great, and four games in five weeks wasn’t a problem. There were times when you could be playing for two years to get four games so this new format is great. I didn’t think fatigue was a major issue and you are training just as hard between games in the old format. I think we are better prepared for the Munster final because of it and the same can be said of Clare.
“They will be in the same boat as us, four tough games and that’s what you want ahead of a Munster final. You saw how close it was between the two sides when we met in the first game and they will fancy their chances of putting that right in the final.
“But we need to put a 70-minute performance in, we still haven’t managed to do that yet. We have done enough to get to the final, but we need to push on now and get that 70-minute performance.
“We are searching for that and I think if we can do that in the final then we will be in with a chance of winning.
“I think the lads have shown a lot of character in the games so far and we have managed to come from behind to get draws or wins, but that’s not a position we want to be in.
“But we stick to our game plan and by not just playing long balls in that would have been easy to defend we managed to get the draws or wins.
“But Clare are a really good team and they have won three in-a-row now and will really fancy their chances against us in the final.
“They will definitely be favourites and we are up against it and you saw how close the game in Cork was, We were lucky to get the win down there, but we got it and they will be coming for us now,” concluded Joyce.
Clare will certainly go into the final full of confidence, especially after their win over Limerick yesterday, no doubt the margin a surprising factor to many. But Cork are not the defending champions for nothing and it has all the possibilities of being another classic.
Last year the Rebels caught sides by surprise and had three great wins to take the title, a final that many had predicted they wouldn’t reach.
That’s the beauty of hurling, you never know what’s going to happen on any given day and the Rebels have given us shear entertainment in every game so far.
Let’s hope the final sees that continue, with the right result!