Patrick Horgan.Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Paint the town red

Bunting and banter are both flying high on Leeside this week as excitement reaches fever pitch ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland Hurling Final.

Cork will be eager to bring the Liam MacCarthy Cup back to the rebel county for the first time since 2006 when they take on current champions Limerick at Croke Park.

Excitement is especially high as this is the first All-Ireland senior hurling final for Cork since suffering a bitter defeat to rivals Clare back in 2013.

In the build-up to Sunday’s epic clash, the Lord Mayors of Cork and Limerick had a well-humoured clash of their own when they exchanged official letters claiming ownership of the coveted cup.

“I believe you have something that belongs to us. He’s about 16 inches high, silver and goes by the name of Liam,” wrote the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher.

Mayor of Limerick city and county, Cllr Daniel Butler responded with his own letter, writing: “Limerick were the first recipients of the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 1923, so Liam is back home and is very comfortable on Shannonside.”

Ahead of Sunday’s big game, the Lord Mayor of Cork told the Cork Independent that it is now up to the people of Cork to show our players how proud we are of them.

“There’s such a positive atmosphere here in the city as we prepare to bring our old friend, the Liam MacCarthy Cup, home after a 16-year holiday!” said the Lord Mayor.

“You can feel the excitement here – we’re all so proud of our inspirational hurling team and the hard work they’ve put in over the year to bring us all together this Sunday,” said the Lord Mayor of Cork.

He is now calling on residents, communities and business to paint the town red by decorating homes and lighting up businesses and public buildings in support of the team.

Beyond the city limits, County Mayor Cllr Gillian Coughlan commended the Cork hurlers for their “great resolve and resilience” over the past year.

“Years of dedication and sacrifice by Cork’s senior hurling panel have culminated in what will be an epic showdown in Croke Park against the reigning champions this Sunday. They will have the support of their families, clubs, communities and county behind them all the way,” she said.

She added: “To supporters, I ask that you enjoy the match safely and with regard to Covid-19 guidelines. Let’s support Cork safely. Corcaigh Abú!”

It’s a busy week for Cork GAA with both minor hurling and football teams in action on Saturday.

The minor footballers will take on Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi-final in Tullamore, and later that evening the minor hurlers will play Galway in the All-Ireland Minor hurling final in Thurles.

In a statement issued earlier in the week, Cork County Board Chairman Marc Sheehan commented on the genuine excitement and expectation ahead of the start of a feast of games for the Rebels over the coming days.

“In Cork nothing compares to being involved at the business end of the All-Ireland series irrespective of code or age group.

“I wish all involved well and urge all travelling and supporting to abide by Covid-19 guidelines in all circumstances,” he said.