There is a belief that if the Galway team that turned up to demolish Kilkenny in the Leinster final repeat that type of performance next Sunday then Cork are wasting their time going up to Croke park.
But this is a road we have been down many times before with Galway teams, glorious All Ireland, semi-final days that were followed a few weeks later by damp squib finals when high expectation levels among their fans turned to utter despair.
That has been a feature of so many Galway teams, the failure to put together two big championship performances side by side.
It happened on a number of occasions with Cork in the equation and after ending Rebel aspirations in the 1975, 1979 and ‘85 semi-finals, they lost the finals to Kilkenny, Kilkenny and Offaly respectively.
There have been other occasions too when great expectations were not realised and here they are one more time, going into a major game on the back of a stunning show in their previous encounter.
Now, can they replicate what was a sensational Leinster final display against the All Ireland champions and finally bury the theory held by so many that they just are not capable of the back-to-back performances that are required when this juncture in the year is arrived at.
All will be revealed on Sunday against a Cork team that are now perceived to be in bonus country after having reached a stage in the competition that few expected them to reach.
Well, maybe they are travelling along that route now but that is not saying that they are going to be satisfied one way or the other on Sunday evening.
If anything there is an even fiercer determination now to extend the season and not be satisfied with what would amount to a bronze medal if they lose this game.
Of course Galway are favourites, they just have to be after the thrashing that they gave to Kilkenny a few weeks ago.
That day, particularly in the first-half, they looked the finished article, almost flawless in building up a lead that no team in the country would be able to match thereafter.
That outcome obviously has put them in perfect shape for the challenges ahead but, at the same time, one only has to go back 12 months when they blew Cork away in the qualifiers only to lose to Wateford by 10 points in their next assignment.
That’s just another example of how inconsistent Galway hurling is and why their supporters are not shouting from the rooftops in their predictions for this game.
Maybe, just maybe, all the unfulfilled potential of the last 24 years when so many great minor and under-21 teams and players couldn’t cut it afterwards on the big stage is about to be realised.
They have accumulated huge scores in all their games this year, 12 goals and 62 points to be exact which shows the attacking prowess of the front six.
Joe Canning spearheads that attack and he is capable of destroying any opposition on his own.
The likelihood is that he’ll go to full-forward next Sunday for the off and if he does it will provide Stephen McDonnell with his greatest test, far greater than what Eoin Larkin posed in the league final.
That will be a key duel next Sunday and it will happen either at the beginning or shortly afterwards.
Outside of Canning, Galway’s best player in the Leinster final was Cyril Donnellan with five glorious points and he is going tp present a big threat if that type of form is replicated.
Damien Hayes was hugely effective in that defeat of the Cats, his link up play and intensity between midfield and the half-forward line causing all sorts of problems.
The two Burkes, David and Niall are dangerous operators as well but there wasn’t a weak link in their attack when they collected the Bob O’Keeffe trophy.
Defensively, they have conceded high scores in a number of games, even against Westmeath in Leinster but they seem to have, by accident or by design, come across their best six backs now with Tony Og Regan playing exceptionally well this season at centre-back.
His joust with Cian McCarthy on the forty will be crucial too.
As expected, Cork have made changes too although there might be some surprise with the personnel involved.
Lorcan McLoughlin regains his midfield slot after losing out to Daniel Kearney for the Waterford game but, having impacted so heavily when he arrived at half-time that day, it was expected that Darren Sweetnam would get the nod to accompany Patrick Cronin.
But he has been kept in reserve and, obviously, McLoughlin has impressed on the training ground to get his place back.
There will be some surprise too that Niall McCarthy has been omitted.
To be fair, he was poor against Waterford, replaced by Cathal Naughton but with his experience, physical presence and ball winning abilit, it was thought he would get the nod again.
But his absence at the beginning will only add to the attacking options during the course of the game when the bench will, almost certainly, be required just as it was against Waterford.
The team, otherwise, is along expected lines with John Gardiner being kept in reserve again to be used defensively if the need arises as was the case the last day.
The need for Cork to be more consistent over the seventy minutes has been stressed and any lull in the intensity here could be very damaging.
The main Cork threat is perceived to be the three inside forwards and in that regard it will be imperative to get a lot more ball into them than was the case in the quarter-final.
Galway seem to have found a permanent home for Iarla Tannian too in midfield and counteracting his energy will be the job of Patrick Cronin and McLoughlin.
Galway’s intensity against Kilkenny was almost frightening and even the team that invented that intensity could not counteract it on the day.
Galway are much more physical this season and their early dominance in the Leinster final was the difference.
In fact there are some who will lead you to believe that performing a notch or two below that level will be sufficient here .
Cork must match that intensity, they must contain them early on when they will surely go for the jugular again and if they are in the game with 15 minutes to go the subs who arrive must maintain the tempo and that’s where Sweetnam, Cathal Naughton, Gardiner, Stephen Moylan and Niall Mc will come in.
And they must play their best hurling of the year, better than the last day, better than what was on offer against Offaly and Wexford and better too than their best, overall, display against Tipperary in Munster.
Galway might well have peaked against Kilkenny, maybe Cork haven’t yet.
If they do here they’ll be there or thereabouts.
Can they take the evolving process a stage further ? again the heart rules the head.
Cork by the narrowest of margins. .
Verdict : Cork.
Cork to beat Galway on Sunday