The dust has settled after Tipperary’s incredible win over Cork, and I’m still sickened. I know there was a good chance we were going to have to beat Cork at some stage to win the All-Ireland, but I was holding out hope that someone like, say, Wexford might have inspiration and catch them on the hop. Last night’s result certainly showed that this was possible, but the consequences are that we’ll have to do the hard work for ourselves.
Make no mistake, we will be favourites for this game. Cork were a mess last night and have managed only one big win (if you could call that win over Clare ‘big’) under Gerald McCarthy. These things happen to Cork on occasion, like in 2002 when internal strife saw them lose to Waterford in very unlikely circumstances then get hammered by Galway in the qualifiers. Last night’s aimless display certainly suggested a team in trouble.
But – and remember, everything before the but is bullshit – I’m tired of these High Noon style clashes with Cork. Is it too much to ask for a slightly less fraught path to the All-Ireland final? To make matters worse, Tipperary sans Eoin Kelly looked rather tasty. Benny Dunne looks like he might be fulfilling the promise of days gone by, as might an injury-free Lar Corbett. So they look a more formidable obstacle than they might havebeen. Of course, that means we probably should be grateful we don’t have to meet them this day fortnight. Either way, the road to Croke Park looks more stressful than it was twenty-four hours ago. The horror . . .