The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher has upped the ante in advance of Cork's All-Ireland hurling final clash with Limerick on Sunday by writing to his counterpart Mayor Daniel Butler and asking for the Liam MacCarthy Cup back.
"Dear Mayor Butler," begins Cllr Kelleher his letter on Cork City Council headed paper as he proceeds to explain why the Liam MacCarthy Cup belongs on the Leeside and how he might facilitate its return to Cork by bringing it along to Croke Park on Sunday for collection about 5.30pm.
“I believe that you have something that belongs to us. He’s about 16 inches high, silver and goes by the name of Liam. Sadly, Liam was lost to us back in 2006 and after many years of searching, we almost found him again in 2013.
"Down the years, there have been sightings of him in Kilkenny, Galway, Tipperary, Clare for some reason and now I believe Limerick," said Cllr Kelleher as he goes on to explain that Liam's family hail from Ballygarvan in south Cork.
“One can only imagine that he has found it quite distressing not being back on Leeside in over 16 years. As I’m sure you are aware and understand, there is no place like home and there’s certainly no place like Cork!”
“Can I ask you, as Mayor of Limerick, to arrange to bring Liam to Croke Park on Sunday for collection? I will arrange for him to be picked up around 5.30pm and rightfully returned to Leeside. Many thanks for looking after him. It won’t be forgotten.”
Cllr Kelleher sent off the letter on Monday afternoon and was still awaiting a response from Mayor Burke but he was confident the Cork hurlers would do the business on Sunday to ensure Liam's safe return to Leeside.
“I’m very confident – I said it after the semi-final win over Kilkenny and I know the Rock (Diarmuid O’Sullivan) said it as well, they have us written off with Limerick’s name already engraved on the trophy but I was at the semi-final and the work rate of the Cork players was something else.
“The amount of work they put in both on and off the ball – which is something you don’t see on the television – was phenomenal and if they play on Sunday the way they played in that game against Kilkenny, then they will put it up to any team.
Cllr Kelleher, who admitted that hurling was beyond his skillset, resulting in him seeing himself as more “a hurler on the ditch”, hopes to bring his son Adam (15) with him to the game while his daughter Emily (7) will watch the game at home on TV as he finds another source for optimism.
"I personally didn't think Waterford turned up for their semi-final against Limerick, I think Waterford are a better team than that and for Limerick to win only by the margin that they did, I find that promising from a Cork perspective so I'm quietly confident that we can bring Liam home".