White: The time is over for moral victories for Cork football

White: The time is over for moral victories for Cork football
A dejected Sean White last summer. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

IT’S all about hard work for Seán White this week.

On Saturday evening up in Thurles, White and the Cork footballers will have to put in the hard yards to justify their favouritism against Laois and qualify for the Super 8s. In the real world, the 24-year-old returned to the office at KPMG last Tuesday after completing the latest phase of his accountancy exams.

White and the Rebels soaked up the plaudits after coming within three points of Kerry in a cracking Munster final but none of that will count for anything if they don’t do the business tomorrow.

“It was good to get two back-to-back championship performances together but we didn’t get what we set out to do, at the start of the year, which was to win the Munster title.

“There will be massive pressure on us but every team that’s left is a good team. We’re looking for that performance again and then hopefully the result will look after itself.”

It’s been a fascinating summer for Ronan McCarthy’s side, given they were relegated from Division 2 in the league and appeared to be a faded force.

“We all pulled together. After a few poor results, we came together and said we’d go for it as much as we could. We knew ourselves how badly we’d played.

“Hopefully we can put in a performance and move into the Super 8s and just try and get as far as we can.”

“It really comes down to the players and what they put in. You get out what you put in, it’s very simple really. Thankfully it seems to be coming right for us at the moment but we’ve to show that again on Saturday night.”

White came up through the underage ranks when the Rebels were dominant, in Munster at least, in the U21 grade, coming up short in the 2016 All-Ireland to Mayo.

“We won a lot of Munster U21 titles and when I was minor and U21 the seniors were going very well, winning All-Irelands or at least challenging and to back to that level is the aim. That’s where Cork football should be at.”

White’s family love the GAA. Mark, 21, is also in the Cork line-up, the towering goalkeeper enhancing his reputation against Kerry, while there’s also Brian, a Cork U17 last year, and Ciara.

His father hailed from Barryroe so hurling played a big part in their childhood before Clon’s preference for football sent them down that path.

The White’s grandfather on their mother’s side is a passionate Kerry football supporter.

“My grandfather, Denis Brosnan, is big into Kerry football so I didn’t have much choice but to look over there. He’s mad into Kerry football.”

Graham Canty was an inspiration, as a native of West Cork excelling at the highest level, and White featured a lot in the half-back line when he was younger. Indeed he was wearing the six geansaí against Kerry, though his role was as a deep-lying centre-forward.

“I played centre-back at U21 and then in my last year with that group I was midfield. With Clon I go wherever I’m needed and for Cork we seem to have plenty of half-backs so I’m delighted to get a chance in the forwards. If I can get near the team I’m happy because there are a lot of good footballers in the squad. There’s a great bond there too.”

White didn’t actually feature in the Munster semi-final and wasn’t in the team to face Kerry until injuries to club comrade Tom Clancy, John O’Rourke and Eoghan McSweeney.

“The hamstring had been a recurring thing for me. The medical staff are looking after me and whatever we’re doing differently has been working. It took a while to get it right and hopefully it’ll stay that way.”

He’s familiar with Tom Semple’s field, having made his first championship appearance there off the bench in the loss to the Premier in 2016, while they suffered disappointment in Thurles at minor too.

“We lost to Tipperary in the Munster semi-final. We’d beaten Kerry after a replay in Killarney. That was six years ago. We’d a good team, Stephen Cronin, Peter Kelleher, Michael Hurley, Kevin Flahive, a lot of good lads.

“We lost up in Thurles. We’d played here, at Páirc Uí Rinn, and Tralee and when we got up to Semple Stadium we got a big of stage fright in the bigger stadium. We were 0-8 to 0-1 down.”

With Cork’s swagger back, they’ll surely avoid a repeat this weekend.

“Confidence is important but come Saturday night there won’t be any moral victories.

“It’s a big wide pitch and most pitches are like that these days. Ourselves and Laois have both played there before so it’ll really come down to whoever will get over the line.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content