History beckons for the Cork hurlers this weekend. But not the sort of history they'll want to be associated with.
Were Kieran Kingston's charges to come up short in Sunday's Munster SHC quarter-final, they would become the first Cork hurling team in the 128-year running of the Munster championship to go three consecutive seasons without winning a single game in the province.
The Rebels lost to Waterford on a scoreline of 3-19 to 1-20 in the 2015 Munster semi-final at Thurles, while at the same venue last year, they finished nine points adrift of Tipperary at the quarter-final juncture.
Eleven players – Anthony Nash, Damian Cahalane, Mark Ellis, Cormac Murphy, Daniel Kearney, Bill Cooper, Conor Lehane, Alan Cadogan, Patrick Horgan, Aidan Walsh and Luke O'Farrell – featured in both those defeats and a sizeable cohort of this group are expected to line out this weekend as they bid to avoid an unflattering first for Cork GAA.
There have been nine occasions in the past when the county went two consecutive years without securing a victory in the Munster championship – 2011 and '12, 2008 and '09, 2001 and '02, 1996 and '97, 1993 and '94, 1973 and '74, 1936 and '37, 1917 and '18, 1899 and 1900.
On three occasions when faced with a third barren season in the province – 1901, 1919 and 1975, Cork bounced back to finish the summer as Munster champions.
The 90s was a particularly difficult period for the county. Between 1993 and 1997, the county managed only one championship win, that a quarter-final tie against Kerry in 1995.
Tipperary, meanwhile, are bidding to become the first Premier team in 28 years to do a three-in-a-row of Munster titles.
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