Cork football is surfing the feelgood factor of winning again

Cork football is surfing the feelgood factor of winning again
The Cork team, players and mentors after defeating Galway. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

BARRY Corkery performed a very important role behind the scenes with the successful Cork minor football squad who recently captured the All-Ireland Football Championship title.

Barry worked wonders in his role as performance coach with the young Rebels who ended a drought of 19 years thanks to their recent triumph in Croker.

“It has been amazing. Lovely to be surfing the feelgood factor that comes with winning, taking the cups to schools and seeing the joy it has generated. It is the stuff of dreams,” revealed the proud Corkman.

Cork snatched victory from the clutches of despair after they netted a last-gasp goal to deny Galway victory and ensure extra time was required.

Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

They turned on the style in extra time, which saw them lift the Tom Markham Cup. He was thrilled with the character they displayed.

“They showed great character and skill,” says Barry.

“There has been a huge buy-in from everyone. This Cork group learned a valuable lesson last May in Tralee about playing every ball to the last whistle and the coaching team worked tirelessly on this.

“When the moment was greatest, all that work paid off in the final seconds of normal time.”

Barry and his family have always been huge GAA enthusiasts, synonymous with Éire Óg.

He was thrilled to play his part in their success and celebrate with his close family members after the game. Their support and constant encouragement are greatly appreciated.

“It was a huge honour,” he says.

“We’d be big GAA people back home. My dad Paddy has given huge service to the GAA all his life and it was so special to hug him and my son Tiarnan after the game.

“My wife Gretchen and two daughters are very supportive, and I couldn’t be involved without their backing.”

The Cork minor footballers blossomed under the guidance of Bobbie O’Dwyer and his very strong management team. They also gleefully availed of the expert backroom cast who were assembled to ensure all their needs were catered for.

“In Bobbie’s set-up, everyone has a role and brings something to the table. I particularly like the validating environment which he creates. Of course there are fierce characters involved. I’d be looking forward to the training sessions for the banter between Ollie Rue and Mick Hannon alone.

“Our defenders and midfielders had great steel. Billy’s work with the keepers has been widely lauded with Cian O’Leary coming in for huge praise for his composure.

“James McCarthy and James Masters have two of the greatest football brains I’ve come across and our forward movement was excellent.

“There’s a big backroom team and the work behind the scenes is just enormous.

“One man who deserves immense praise is Brian McCarthy, head of logistics.”

Barry Corkery in action for Éire Óg.
Barry Corkery in action for Éire Óg.

Éire Óg had two people involved in the latest Cork underage football success.

Hugh Murphy played a key role at half-forward, while Barry himself played a vital role behind the scenes.

“We’re very proud of Hugh in Éire Óg. He is a great talent and has a bright future.

“It’s been a great year for the Murphy family, with his brother Jack also winning an All-Ireland U20 title.

“Their parents Michael and Marita are heavily involved in the club. Colm O’Callaghan was also involved with the Cork U20s as well.

“It is great to see such talent coming through.

“There’s great work being put in by the underage side of the club in hurling and football, just as there is in our camogie and ladies football clubs, too.”

This was Barry’s second year with the minor management team. He also worked with the Cork senior ladies this year. He has an active role on match days.

“I’m always on the far side of the pitch wired up to the management group,” says Barry.

“A level of mastery has been built from the repetitive work on and off the training ground, so at that stage it’s about allowing the players the platform to represent themselves, so less is more from me.

“All the management group have been part of any work I’ve done, so it’s a common language that’s spoken and, to my mind, the fewer that speak before matches the better.”

He had a critical role in their success as performance coach.

He loved working with this year’s minor footballers.

“Much of my work involved workshops around leadership, resilience and how to keep composed under pressure — teaching how to manage our emotions as opposed to our emotions managing us.

“I guess it’s all about trying to stack the odds in your favour, so it was nice to contribute my bit.

“In life, as is sport, typically we may lose more than we win, but it’s about getting back up that matters.

“Being comfortable with vulnerability is crucial — mistakes will invariably happen during games, but it’s a players’ capacity to detach from the last moment and play the ball in front of them that matters.

“If Bobbie told these lads to jog up Mushera backwards to help Cork win the All-Ireland, they would have done it!

“The lads were great to work with. To be fair, anything I threw at them was grounded in a strong evidence base and the players were always eager to learn.”

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