GAA Expert & Columnist
Jamesie O'Connor column: The Cork hurlers are made for Croke Park, but can they get there?
Jamesie O'Connor looks ahead to the All-Ireland quarter-finals, as Cork face Dublin, and Waterford take on Tipperary. Watch Dublin vs Cork live on Sky Sports Arena from 6pm Saturday.
Last Updated: 31/07/21 3:57pm
Given Cork's pace, their thirst for goals, the speed of their play, this is a team that is built for Croke Park. They would thrive in the open spaces and on the fast pitch.
It remains to be seen if the Lee-siders can get to Jones' Road, however, with Dublin standing in their way.
We saw their potency in the win over Clare, and Shane Barrett's goal summed it up. In times gone by, Seamus Harnedy would have tapped the sliotar over the bar. But instead, he sensed that there was more on offer, and popped it to Barrett.
They will take real confidence after creating those goal opportunities. And that change of mindset has not materialised overnight. They were consistently doing it throughout the National League.
But there is one worry. They looked home and hosed against the Banner, but let them back into contention. Were it not for a dramatic save from Patrick Collins, we might be having a different conversation this weekend.
Nonetheless, I think Limerick would be happy to see the Rebels eliminated this weekend, when pondering potential semi-final opponents.
Cork should have enough to see off Dublin, but it is not going to be plain sailing.
This is not a game they can sleepwalk into, because they could get a rude awakening.
Mattie Kenny should have no problem motivating his charges. They are being widely written off, but there were some positives from their Leinster final defeat, considering the four absentees due to Covid-19. They were level with Kilkenny approaching half-time.
Dublin have ball-winners in their half-forward line. That was a big problem for Clare, they couldn't get the ball into their inside forward line and into the hands of their shooters. The Sky Blues could ask more questions in that regard.
It's not a foregone conclusion. Dublin need to make it a tighter, tougher, more physical battle and ensure they don't give the Cork forwards the same space that Clare afforded them.
But the availability of Eoghan O'Donnell could be crucial.
I would imagine that if Cork's minds are on the job, and they will take a lot out of last Saturday, they will have too much pace and fire-power for this Dublin team.
Déise gathering momentum
Liam Cahill has to be thrilled with his team's response against Galway.
It was the energy they brought to the fight. They were fired up all over the field. They had everything that was missing in their June defeat to Clare.
Jack Fagan was buzzing around the place. Peter Hogan and Jamie Barron dominated the midfield. Calum Lyons was back to his best.
Tactically, Waterford played a game that suited Waterford. I don't think Galway played a game that suited Galway.
But there are real question marks over the Tribesmen, and that puts Waterford's display into context.
Credit to the Déise, they appear to be back on track after a shaky start to the championship. They will now look at Tipperary, and the Premier's lack of pace, and feel like they have a real chance.
As for Tipp, a lot depends on how much psychological damage was done in the second-half collapse against Limerick,
But they know how to regroup from a Munster final defeat. Seamus Callanan, Padraic Maher, Brendan Maher and Co have not returned this season to chase Munster medals. They are here for another All-Ireland. And remain three wins away from doing just that.
There is no better man than Liam Sheedy to gather the troops. He will focus on the positives from the Munster final. They played superbly in that first half.
But they are meeting a team with real momentum.
It is going to be a tight one in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Watch Dublin vs Cork live on Sky Sports Arena from 6pm Saturday.