Forget about the bands because Cork and Kerry was the best gig in town

Forget about the bands because Cork and Kerry was the best gig in town
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

FOR those of us who grew up in the simpler times, last Saturday was rather challenging, in terms of how we should feel on Munster Football final day.

Maybe, if yours truly was out and about a little more, it would feel somewhat different, but from a limited interaction point of view, there appeared to be as much interest in the happenings at Live at the Marquee and Musgrave Park than there was on what might unfold in the brand new house.

Just as an example, I encountered two gentlemen who play senior club football and going to see the Coronas rather than escorting their lady friends to Páirc Uí Chaoimh! Sweet Lord, what is the world coming to?

There appeared to be an air of beyond interested. Undoubtedly, Cork’s recent demise from being a big house occupant to being a nominee for the next version of the Tommy Murphy Cup obviously has had an effect.

For many, the Munster championship was already on its way to the history vaults, and you even had Kerry folk wearing black in sympathy, with the passing of their neighbour as a footballing one.

The attendance of 18,265 was a real indicator of where it stood in the greater scheme of things.

In the build-up when the news filtered through that James O’Donoghue, once again, had been a visitor to the infirmary, it had to be viewed as a positive from a Cork point of view. Evidence from recent clashes provided plenty proof that the Legion club man has a certain penchant for inflicting wounds on Rebel full-back line dwellers.

Make no mistake, a fully functioning O’Donoghue is a vital part of Kerry’s attacking options.

I’m not sure what was going on in terms of the Cork management announcing their team so early in the week when three of the 15 got injured. Another team was announced, which was further altered, prior to throw-in.

In economic terms, such moves would not impress the markets, but do you know, nobody seemed to care. You got the impression that there was a good deal more at stake here than appeared to be the case initially.

Not in any order, but the future of Cork football, the future of Kerry football, maybe the future of Gaelic football entirely, and indeed the very future of the Munster senior football championship were up for grabs!

When it was all over, you could argue that never in the history of defeats did a team appear so victorious. A text arrived from a lady who was viewing in the TV stadium early in the match. I will give her this, she is an avid GAA fan but her deep leaning is associated with the ash.

She was of the opinion that some of the Cork lads (her words) appeared scared, next one that arrived referred to it being awful. As soon as young Tom O’Sullivan arrived from the Kerry defensive habitat to raise a green flag, my lady texter was on oxygen support.

Corner-backs getting goals, this was too much. When Kerry went seven ahead, she threatened to turn it off. I heard no more until it was all over.

Slowly and not so surely, this Cork team started the process of winning admiration. Defenders, the majority of whom would not be known outside of their own circle, began moving to centre stage, Kevin Flahive gathered a few in front of David Clifford and laid off well.

Earlier on Saturday, Mallow’s James Sugrue became a national hero of sorts, when he was crowned Open Amateur Golf champion; by the final whistle he was being given a run for his money by two GAA boys from the same town.

James Loughrey, who has been around for a while, won several possessions and instead of laying off to an immediate companion, took off like a guy, who just might make it on to a moving bus, it was one of his finest displays.

Mattie Taylor appeared to be cut from the same forward running cloth as Loughrey, he too favoured having a look into the enemy back garden, the shackles were off.

Earlier last week, I encountered a few who wanted to narrow their questioning, along the lines of ‘how come three out of the seven defenders are come from Clonakilty?’

Yes, my friends, some lines of questioning are perverse, to say the least. The White brothers, sons of a Barryroe hurler Adrian, provided plenty of answers. As did the tough operator that is Liam O’Donovan.

What can you say about midfield? Well, David Moran is highly fancied in the land of many, and in fairness to Ian Maguire, he didn’t shirk from his responsibilities.

Kilshannig operates in the highlands outside of Mallow, and on Saturday evening, Jack Barry found himself in the company of one of their modern-day sons, Killian O’Hanlon. On 52 mins, Adrian Spillane was handed a docket and aforementioned Jack was hauled ashore.

In the aftermath of the Limerick game, I did mention that the Kerry defensive planning department would have to come up with a strategy to curb the influence of Brian Hurley and Ruairí Deane. I would think that they would be happy enough with the performance of Tadgh Morley on Brian Hurley, but my God, Deane caused all sorts of problems.

His ability to go from idling speed to full-throttle is amazing and on a number of occasions, he was like an ambulance with the siren blazing, in that Kerry defenders appeared to pull over to allow him through. The Bantry man is shaping up well now.

What of Mark Collins? Over the past number of years, he has been one of Cork’s leading players and often, in rather challenging scenarios. Again in this clash, he was close on being Cork’s leading operator.

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

He may never be decorated with inter-county honours but nobody can deny his awesome contribution to Cork football.

Now when the final whistle sounded, my lady texter was back on to compliment the entertainment value that attached. It would appear that she may not be the only one, who returned. One of this season’s objectives was to provide hope, arising from a spirited display against Kerry. Box ticked. Next objective is to win the qualifier and gain admission to the Super 8 club.

Finally, I do hope that the two modern day males enjoyed their night out with their friends at the Coronas!

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