CORK U20 hurling coach Johnny Dwyer believes the pain and subsequent criticism that was levelled after the Munster final loss to Tipperary is a major force for the team in their quest to bring the All-Ireland to Leeside.
Dwyer was speaking in the aftermath of the team’s outstanding victory over Kilkenny in the semi-final as they prepare to have another crack off Tipperary in the All-Ireland final.
“We were hurt after the Munster final, the whole group.
“I thought we played very well against Tipperary and we came in for a fair bit of stick afterward. We felt that was unjustified to be honest, it was a very good Tipperary team and it was a classic game.
“We were fairly hurt over that and still are but we’ll go again the next day in the final which we have three weeks to prepare for."
The Cork coach was delighted with the response against the Leinster champions, stating that the work ethic in the team was something that was very pleasing.
“All the team, the backs, in particular, but the forwards as well, it was a real team effort and you needed that against Kilkenny who won’t give you an inch.
“In every game, you will have certain players that will stand out but every one of those guys gave everything for the Cork jersey here.’’
One of those who stood out was Bride Rovers Brian Roche, who returned to the starting 15 to put in a huge shift.
“Yes, he was outstanding, he hit a bit of slump, he was trying to do too much really and we felt that he needed a break.
“His work-rate against Kilkenny was incredible, he shut down the Kilkenny half-back line.
“It’s a great sign of a young fellow who is dropped to come back in and play like that, we are delighted for him and the rest of the squad and I can guarantee you those players will die with their boots on to try and win the final.’’
The final is scheduled for the weekend of August 24/25, with day, time and venue expected to be confirmed in the next few days.