Winning silverware, in the shape of a Munster title, was a defining moment for the Cork senior hurlers, according to manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy.
On Sunday next, the Rebels face Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final, five weeks on from their victory over Limerick in the provincial decider. Many observers will say that it was a long overdue success – 2006 was when Cork last prevailed.
To that end, winning Munster this year was important for a side, who would have, at the start of campaign, had aspirations of going one better than last year and winning the All-Ireland.
It’s a view echoed by Barry-Murphy when he spoke to RTÉ Sport.
“I would say the win against Clare [Munster semi-final] was very, very important psychologically, having lost the All-Ireland final to them last year. They were brilliant All-Ireland champions and we all know the U-21s they have coming through.
"The win over Limerick was crucial in the sense that we wanted to win silverware. This team, as a group, had not won anything and none of the players had won anything at underage level for Cork either.
“When a team doesn’t win anything, it can play on their minds.
“We were very anxious that once we got to the Munster final on our own ground that victory was essential as it would give us a big boost in confidence."
Not surprisingly, Barry-Murphy is looking forward to the prospect of Cork and Tipperary locking horns at Croke Park for the first time in the championship.
“It’s amazing that after all these years of battles between Cork and Tipperary in Limerick, Thurles, Cork and Killarney that we now end up in Croke Park in an All-Ireland semi-final, “ he added.
“It will be a fantastic occasion for both players, mentors and for both sets of supporters.
"Tipperary have brought in new players but there still is a vast amount of experience in the squad.
"A good few of them have won All-Ireland medals against Kilkenny. We’re aware of that. I hope our Munster final will compensate for our lack of success at inter-county level and give us the confidence to move on from there."
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