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Kilkenny's Niall Brassil battles Cork's Sean O'Leary-Hayes. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
Kilkenny's Niall Brassil battles Cork's Sean O'Leary-Hayes. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
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'It hurt to be told Cork hurlers are too soft, we wanted to show what we're really about'

CORK boss Denis Ring was delighted with how his players had responded to the shattering loss in the Munster final but he’s fully aware that there’s one more hurdle to surmount before the journey is completed. 

A victory over Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final leaves them one win away from atoning for their provincial loss to Tipp.

"We got out early, got a good warm-up, there was a good atmosphere and tempo to it.

“We had a good recovery and video analysis after the last day and we put that to bed quickly.

“We saw Kilkenny four times this year and we knew them very well but they knew us too.

“To be honest, we were hurt a bit by some of the things that were said recently - that Cork hurlers were too soft.

“When your own crowd are saying it you’d get worried."

Ring and his management team were determined to set the record straight here.

“From the off today, we were conscious that that wasn’t going to be an accusation that would be levelled at anyone today.

“Even in the warm-up, there was some slightly different stuff that went into that to cater for it.

“Generally in the aerial battle and breaking ball, that is where the appetite and hunger is most evident and I think today we won the lion’s share of those.

“We had some wides and things, we were disappointed with those and there were aspects of our performance we weren't happy with but we kept the scoreboard ticking over in our periods of dominance. I think we deserved it, to be honest with you." 

Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

He had warm words of praise for the defensive return from his players.

“Yes, in the first half we conceded eight points, which is pretty good at this level.

“Ger Millerick saw off Jake Morris for the majority of the game against Tipperary the last day, I thought he was Man of the Match in the Munster final and on Adrian Mullen today, he did another superb job.

“I was really proud of our lads and our backroom team too, everybody involved.

“This was a real match, we were coming into Leinster territory, a real battle on a tight pitch, and I thought we rose to the challenge.

“I’m really proud of our lads and proud of all the work put in by our backroom team.

“I think that we got our match-ups right, most of them anyway.

“Our target at the beginning of the year was the same as it had been, get to the last day of the championship and now we have done that and the next three weeks is all about focusing on that final, whoever we play."