IT all came together in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday night: huge crowd and fantastic summer weather, always a sure sign that the Munster hurling championship has really started.
As we know there are special occasions in Irish sport but none are more appealing than Tipp-Cork. Real rivalry here over the years and this was no different.
While this was a good game, with a thrilling finish, I have to say parts of it did not impress me. Some poor hurling but I suppose excitement is what it is all about now. Defending on both sides was very slack on occasions which allowed for huge scoring.
Both teams were guilty of this, and it is something that seems to be going right through the championship. The art of defending is not very high at the moment. Players are not able to tackle properly without giving away frees.
I believe this is something managers should be looking closely at. I know 'attacking' is very important but so is good proper defending; it is a real skill.
I also think that referees have to be more alert to the high tackle with the hurley. It is dangerous and they must come down harder on it. There was quite a lot of this from both sides. It is ugly and highly dangerous.
Cork started as if they were going to destroy Tipperary. Moving with great pace all over the field, intensity and aggression in their play, attacking the ball and opening up the Tipp defence at will.
That was in the first 10 minutes though and then for some unknown reason, they stopped what they were doing. Tipp completely dominated the midfield area and got some great scores but Cork were standing off them until Robbie O'Flynn's goal brought Cork back into it.
Cork should have had more than two goals by then, some bad misses when they were on top. I'm sure Pat Ryan was delighted to get them into the dressing room as some of the top players were not performing, especially in the attack with Seamus Harnedy, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Patrick Horgan closely marked and Shane Barrett taking wrong options.
Harnedy came out a different player, showing leadership and getting on the scoreboard and lifting other players around him. Declan Dalton was working very hard and continued his good work from the first half. Cork should leave him on every long distance free, he is well able to take them. This would allow Patrick Horgan concentrate on the short ones. Big plus for Cork is to have two good free-takers.
Tipp were still on top for a long time, especially with Noel McGrath and Alan Tynan dominating with great back-up from Ronan Maher and Seamus Kennedy. Cork were finding it very difficult to get through but in fairness to the management team, they made some great calls and the subs were the main difference between getting something or going away empty-handed.
Shane Kingston had one of his best games, scoring three great points and putting his hand up for a starting place the next day. He also set up the goal for Brian Hayes.
Conor Lehane also looked very lively when he came on scoring a fine point and he set up a goal as well.
But I think the man that showed real solid leadership and scored a tremendous point when it was needed was Tim O'Mahony. He also stopped the Tipperary dominance at midfield, another guy putting his hand up for Ennis.
Making changes is vital in any team.
Liam Cahill will be happy enough but also be wondering how they let a five-point lead slip when they were in a winning position with five minutes to go. He will be happy with the forwards, especially Jake Morris and sub Mark Kehoe, who was brilliant when introduced. One wonders why he was not on from the start. I'm sure he will against Limerick.
Pat Ryan has a lot to work on before he goes to Ennis, the Cork supporters being the 16th man for him.