For the Rebel County this year in the Championship, it was a campaign made up of highs and lows.
The high- they retained their Munster title for the second year in a row. This year’s Munster Final was a repeat of last years as they came face to face with Clare. However, they saw off any competition from the Bannermen and were crowned back-to-back Munster Champions.
The low – Limerick. Cork came up against the Treatymen in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Semi-Final and it was one of the most nail-biting matches of hurling we have ever seen. A hard fought battle between the two had to be pushed to extra time. But during extra time, Limerick entered sixth gear, and whacked two goals, ending Cork’s hopes and dreams of an All-Ireland.
The last time Cork took the Liam MacCarthy Cup Leeside was in 2005 and contested the Final the following year. They have come extremely close to victory on numerous occasions but have repeatedly fallen at the final hurdles.
Since their appearance in the All-Ireland Final in 2006, they have appeared in the Semi-Final 7 times. Only once have they won at this stage, back in 2013. So losing again this year must have been a very hard pill to swallow for the Cork hurlers.
But as winter awaits, it is a time for Cork to prepare for next year’s Championship. They will back out to defend their Munster title and possibly win it for the third year in a row.
Moreover, after watching their neighbours Limerick win Liam MacCarthy after a 45-year drought, surely this will spare Cork on. Perhaps now, it is their time.
It won’t be an easy road, for the Hurling Championship is undoubtedly the fiercest it has ever been. Long gone are the days of the Big Three – Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny. Teams like Galway, Limerick and Waterford have all shown what they are made off over the past few years. If anyone can contest this though, Cork can.
We already can’t wait!