- Pat McGrath takes a tour of the Banner County to sample Hurling Final fever
- Paschal Sheehy visits Bishopstown and Kanturk to sample the atmosphere ahead of the All-Ireland Hurling Final
- Marty Morrissey visits Sarsfield hurling club in Cork ahead of the All-Ireland final
- Cork supporters are gearing up for the All-Ireland hurling final
Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final between Cork and Clare will be a ferocious high-speed clash, according to Rebels’ net minder Anthony Nash.
Both sides combine a mixture of youth, lightning pace and great movement and Nash expects a fast and furious battle for the Liam MacCarthy, though the 28-year-old predicts a tactical joust rather than an open encounter.
He said: “It’s going to be really a very ferocious game and the speed of it is going to be phenomenal.
“I doubt though it’ll be an open game like we had against Dublin (in the semi-final). It’ll be a tactical battle but hopefully a good game to watch.”
Nash spent years in the shadows of Cork goalkeeping legend Donal Óg Cusack, who was a virtual permanent fixture between the posts since his Championship debut in 1999 until injury ruled him out of last year’s Championship.
In Cusack’s absence, the Kanturk club man finally made the No. 1 jersey his own, winning a 2012 All Star in the process.
Nash admits frustration over the wait to become No. 1, but took the positives on board and turned them to his advantage.
“Of course, it was frustrating [to be understudy]. You always want to be out there and playing for whatever team you’re involved in,” he said.
"We took the defeat on the chin. Now here we are in an All-Ireland final." - Nash comments on losing the Munster final
“I learnt alot from both ‘keepers - Donal Óg and Darren McCarthy. I would have taken bits and pieces from everyone’s’ game and I hope they would have done the same from mine.
“Also the experience of getting ready for games and having my friends getting ready for games and telling me what to do would have been a great help to me.”
The Championship has been a mixture of highs and lows for the Rebels, the lowest time following the Munster final defeat to Limerick.
“We took the defeat on the chin. We have a very experienced management team and they brought us back to earth, got us going again and picked us up.
“Now here we are in an All-Ireland final.
“The path we took this year is far different to something we thought would have happened at the start of the year.
“It’s just great to be there [in the final] and hopefully one step more and we’ll win it.”
There will be more than an air of familiarity between the two finalists come throw-in at Croker, Cork and Clare have met a number of times in various competitions this season. Nash, however, is expecting a few surprises from the Bannermen.
“You can guarantee they will have something up their sleeves. We just want to get our game right and our gameplan right and try and impose it on Clare.”
Live television coverage of the All-Ireland Hurling Final between Clare and Cork from 14:15 on Sunday 8 September on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only). Live radio coverage of all the day’s action from 14:00 on RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ RnaG and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).