It never really goes away you know, the fascination with hurling, it’s always in there, waiting to escape, whether it be the first Sunday in September or a dreary day in deepest, darkest November. I never like it when I miss a game. There was a time when it consumed me to such an extent that it had a significant impact on my mood. This obviously suggests that I’ve some kind of deep-rooted psychosis – and I probably do – but it’s finally something that I’m in control of. Now, don’t be fooled either. This does not mean that I’ll be totally switched off by the time 7:00pm comes tomorrow night, it means that I’ll actually be more switched on.
I’ll be back west when Cork play Waterford tomorrow evening. For the first time in my life I don’t expect Cork to beat them. The games of last summer have left a scar. The league final defeat was a dark moment. After ten years in the doldrums I thought it was a real opportunity for Cork to push on. We’ve won so little we can’t be snobby when it comes to league titles anymore.
To be beaten in that manner was crushing but what exacerbated it was the fact that so little seemed to be learned between that defeat and the next one in the Munster championship. Doing the same thing again but expecting a different result. What’s that the definition of again? Waterford are good, don’t get me wrong, but they still have a lot to do. They’ve figured out how not to lose, the next step is how to win. Although, at this stage, I’d take the not losing.
It’s a different team to last week. I’m looking forward to see (hear, you know what I mean) how Willie Leahy does. He looked really good with the Intermediate team last year. He’s a good hand, can take a score and, best of all, seems fiery. It’s a huge step up, obviously, but he has raw potential. Colm Spillane is another all-action player. I hope he just gets an injury-free run to prove himself. Lorcán’s move to the forward line is interesting too. It’s where he played his first game for Cork but this is surely an effort to counteract Waterford. That kind of thinking would be progress, and to be fair, there was glimpses of it last week.
And realistically that’s all you want to see at this stage of the year, progress. Cork won’t be growing mushrooms anymore. It will be lots of little victories, most of which we won’t even see, won’t even recognise. For tomorrow, I’ll hopefully get to see it on Setanta. It’s never the same, but it’ll do. If it’s not Setanta it’ll be C103 and the last resort will be Twitter. Then again, Twitter will be in overdrive no matter what, the ligaments in my thumb tested to the limit of their ability to constantly refresh. The sick feeling in the pit of your stomach as you see the opposition reel off seven or eight points in a row on your Twitter feed is fairly grim. I’ll be great company for that hour and a half, great altogether.