CORK U20 manager Keith Ricken admitted he is delighted that his side have secured their place in the final of the John Kerins Cup by beating Galway in Mallow last Saturday evening.
Having already defeated Kerry in round one of the competition, the Rebels knew a win against the Tribesmen last weekend would seal their place in the showpiece occasion against the winners of Group A.
Inspired by midfielder Eanna O’Hanlon and right corner-forward Blake Murphy, Ricken’s men emerged victorious on a scoreline of 1-15 to 1-9 to march on.
“I wouldn’t absolutely say it is not important (to reach this final) because every game you play is important,” said Ricken shortly after full time.
“Every challenge match you play, every league match you play, everything you play is important so from that point of view I’m delighted to play as much as we can.
“When you can’t play challenge matches like we can’t - we can’t play inter-county matches at this level - then all these games are excellent and we will have another quality game against somebody else to come and that is fantastic.
“Another added bonus is last year was the first year of it and Anne Kerins and her son, they are very pro of this and I’m delighted to be in this final and to play for that cup.
“John Kerins was a hero of mine so it’s a great opportunity to be in that final but playing in any final and representing our county of Cork is fantastic and I’m delighted to do that.
“It’s very difficult to know at any time where you are with young lads particularly at this time of year, particularly in the winter time and particularly when you are trying to explore different things but for the last seven or eight weeks I can tell you where I am and I am very happy with the players.
“We have 45 to 50 lads in with us all the time and there is a great buzz and atmosphere around them like.
“They are all mad for it, they are all keen, very keen on playing so from where we are I do know that they are very enthusiastic and that enthusiasm reflected on the play tonight.
“They are all playing a good style of football but tonight I was very happy with their turnovers.
“I don’t think our play was always fantastic but our turnovers were excellent, our tackling was excellent and again two weeks in a row our response has been very good in that we came into a game it got tight and we had to push up an extra gear and I was delighted to see that.”