A giant 75ft by 35ft flag was hoisted high above the Rebel City last night as the countdown to tomorrow’s Croke Park clash with Clare ticks on.
The massive flag, which is slung from two cranes parked on the highest point of Tramore Valley Park on the Kinsale Rd, is visible across the city, and is directly below the flight path into Cork Airport.
The banner was the brainchild of Cork City Council workers James Goulding, a Barrs supporter, and Midleton man Tony O’Sullivan.
James said the idea began with a few innocent comments at work one day.
“We kind of said ‘wouldn’t it be great if...’ and it grew legs from there,” he said.
But when their colleague, Kilkenny man Bríain O’Flynn, said it couldn’t be done, James said that was all the encouragement they needed.
“That spurred us on. We set out to prove him wrong,” he joked.
Michael Reck, a foreman at the civic amenity site, collected the huge flag from Prospect Design Ltd in Dublin yesterday afternoon and drove back to Cork.
With help from East Cork Crane Hire, the flag was hoisted high in the air above the former landfill.
Lord Mayor Catherine Clancy, who wore her own Cork jersey while on official duty yesterday, said it was important that Jimmy Barry Murphy and his team realise that the whole city and county are behind them.
Meanwhile, a 90-year-old lifelong Cork hurling fan, who’s made the journey to Croke Park for almost every All-Ireland final since 1931, has predicted a Rebel win.
Tim Healy, who recalls attending his first All-Ireland final in 1931, perched on his father’s shoulders, reckons JBM’s young guns will have enough firepower to beat Clare and lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup for the 31st time.
“It will be tight on Sunday. There won’t be much in it. But I think this young team will have enough,” he said.
“It will be crucial for Cork to win possession off the Clare puck out and use the ball well.
“Our defence is sound. The key players will be Pa Horgan and Seamus Harnedy. And mark my words, I can see Conor Lehane emerging as a star on the day.
“It will be a Cork win. My head and my heart say Cork.”
Tim was raised in the Lough area of the city, and played hurling with St Finbarr’s GAA club, alongside JBM’s father, John.
He moved to Naas in 1970 but still follows Cork hurling with a passion. He is a lifelong honorary vice-president of the Barrs.
He has seen most of Cork’s All-Ireland wins and is relishing the prospect of another title tomorrow.
“Every Cork win is sweet. But the sweetest for me was in 1966, when the odds were 20-1 against us beating Kilkenny,” he said.
“We went on to beat them with what was practically an under-21 team, led by Gerald McCarthy.”