CORK minor All-Ireland winning coach Bobbie O’Dwyer has been thrilled with the reaction his victorious players and management team have received since they captured the All-Ireland championship title.
The Urhan man and his successful team have been busy in recent weeks taking the Tom Markham Cup on a tour of the county as they attempt to ensure the next generation of players meet their heroes.
“We have received huge receptions everywhere we have been with the cup. It is vital the players and coaches return to their communities and GAA clubs who have played a huge role in helping them develop as players. It is important we keep promoting Cork football and make sure the next generation have local heroes they can seek to emulate,” revealed the Cork minor manager.
O’Dwyer was full of praise for the winning mentality his charges displayed all season en route to winning the All-Ireland minor football title.
“The players showed great character all year. They recovered very well from our first round defeat against Kerry. We had a very tough game in the next round against Clare and our attitude was brilliant. They were a joy to work with.
“There was no real secret to our success. We had very good footballers and they just went out and performed to the best of their ability. They are mature, grounded and very talented lads who will enjoy successful careers for their clubs and county teams going forward.”
The Cork minor footballers benefited immensely from the decision to introduce a back door into the provincial championship this season. Cork had previously succumbed to a series of narrow defeats against Kerry teams in recent years.
“It was huge for us. Our players have benefited hugely from playing on into the summer. We have worked hard with them and their all round games have improved hugely as a result.”
The earlier success of the Cork U20 football team was a boost before their own final. “We took great inspiration from the U20 football success. They were brilliant all year. They are full of very talented players and their management team did great work with them.
“Their convincing win against Dublin was a great display of football. Our lads saw that and we challenged them to follow in their footsteps and bring the double home to Cork. Our players stepped up and they delivered in great fashion.”
Castlehaven club player Sean Bohane, a member of the successful Cork minor squad suffered a devastating long-term injury prior to this year’s All-Ireland final. O’Dwyer paid tribute to the defensive ace.
“Sean was with us all year. He was a very popular member of the squad. I have known Sean since his U14 days with Cork. He is a very good player. It is great to hear he is recovering well. He has a bright future.”
Victorious Cork U20 team captain Peter O’Driscoll is also still on a high following their recent All-Ireland final success. The versatile Ilen Rovers club player had the proud honour of lifting the cup following their great win against Dublin.
“It was a very proud moment for me when I lifted the cup.
“It was a great honour to be appointed the captain at the start of the year. It was a real team effort which got us the win.
“We have enjoyed travelling around the county with the cup. It was a great honour for me personally to visit my old primary and secondary schools. The reception I received was unreal. To see the joy on the faces of everyone is great. Hopefully all the young people will be inspired by our success.
“Lots of people have played a big part in my journey. It is important we acknowledge and pay tribute to everyone. We enjoyed a great year and it was great to finish the season with success.”
Castlehaven club man Rory Maguire was also a member of the Cork U20 squad that won the All-Ireland football title.
“Rory is a very good player. He was very unfortunate to pick up an injury at a crucial stage of the season. He made a big contribution to our success. We had a very strong squad and competition for places was very intense. This ensured all the players had to train and perform at a top level on a consistent basis.”
The Cork U20 football captain, who along with a plethora of the talented team, are expected to be considered for action with the Cork senior footballers next year.