Cork GAA is rising again with three huge games next weekend

Senior hurlers and senior and minor footballers are all in action
Cork GAA is rising again with three huge games next weekend

Joy for the Cork minor footballers after retaining their Munster title last week. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Over the past few weeks, Cork GAA fans have gone from despair to delight and a little hope thrown in.

After the U20 sides crashed out, along with the minor hurlers, it wasn’t looking good for the minor footballer and the senior hurlers.

Few would have backed the senior footballers against Kerry and then the hope was to get a favourable draw in the qualifiers.

Whilst Louth couldn’t be taken for granted, a home draw against them is one you would expect the footballers to win.

It was far from a classic but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the score line at full-time. You can discuss styles of play, blanket defences, and missed chances but once you are ahead at the final whistle, it’s job done, and move on to the next round.

The most important thing is that they came through and now face Limerick in the next round.

Go back a few weeks and we were looking at a similar story for the hurlers, two defeats and heads were being called for – management and players.

PASSION

Cork fans are passionate about the chosen sport they follow, be it GAA, soccer and so on, and they want the best for all involved. Of course, they get frustrated when sides lose, but when it comes to putting hands in their pockets they do so and will continue to do so.

There is a retired colleague who would use the expression – a rising tide lifts all boats – and one wonders does it apply here?

Cork’s win over Waterford in their backyard cannot be underestimated. Yes they were well beaten the following week by Clare as well, but they looked shell-shocked after the loss to Cork and really before the ball was thrown in they knew a miracle was needed to have any chance of going through.

Louth manager Mickey Harte and Cork manager John Cleary. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
Louth manager Mickey Harte and Cork manager John Cleary. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

But one can only wonder do the men’s side keep an eye on the camogie and ladies footballers, and in this particular case the former.

The night before Cork beat Waterford the senior camogie side came out on top of an epic battle with Clare in the Munster final. In that, they showed guts, never-say-die attitude and plenty of skill to lift the cup after a second period of extra-time.

It took 90 minutes to separate them and if you were looking at that then you couldn’t have helped but be inspired by the nature of their victory.

Was it thought about by Kieran Kingston and his selectors the following day? Only they know, but if they needed any more inspiration then it was an easy place to get it.

Before the senior footballers beat Louth we had a simply magnificent win over Kerry in the Munster minor football final, the first time in 22 years that the Rebel county has won back-to-back titles at this level.

After their first-round loss to the Kingdom, few would have backed the Rebels to be the ones smiling at the end of the hour, but huge credit has to go to manager Michael O’Brien and all involved for the turnaround from that loss.

They came through a tough semi-final against Tipperary before the challenge of Kerry again and they showed they were not going to be beaten on the night. That had to give the senior side a boost ahead of the Louth game, why wouldn’t it?

So now the roads are opening up a little for Cork sides, the hurlers have to get the better of Antrim and if they do so will then face Galway. Neither game will be easy and Kingston will only be looking at Antrim right now, but both are ones they can win and who knows what can happen after that.

The minor footballers face Derry in the All-Ireland semi-final, again far from easy, but after their Munster win don’t bet against them. As for the senior footballers, they can't afford to take Limerick for granted but let’s hope the rising tide keeps lifting all the Cork boats.

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