'We can't control what's gone before, we'll let this year's Munster final tell the tale...'

'We can't control what's gone before, we'll let this year's Munster final tell the tale...'
Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

'STOP being a prisoner of your past, become the architect of your future...'

It sounds like a cheesy self-help line but it's the approach the Cork footballers are taking for tomorrow's Munster final according to dynamic wing-forward Ruairí Deane. 

As he did in last year's semi-final against Tipp, Deane set the tone for the Rebels recently in their victory over Limerick to set up a showdown with the Kingdom. It was an impressive Cork display that suggested they could put it up to Kerry this weekend.

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

Yet all the promise shown in 2018's opener was squandered in an embarrassing capitulation at the hands of the old enemy in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. We'll have to wait and see if this will be different, but Deane said they're not getting caught up in wanting to atone for last summer.

"We can’t let that come into it. If you are worried about the past, you are already fighting a losing battle. 

"We can control what is coming up. We cannot control what has gone before. We’ll let this year’s Munster final be the tell-tale of it.

"We are not really thinking about [last year] anymore. We are just dealing with the build-up to this game. Last year is a distant memory."

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

Though Ronan McCarthy's charges are rank outsiders, with the county facing into a Division 3 league campaign next spring and without a win over Kerry since 2012, there is a small buzz on Leeside this week about the Old Firm clash. 

The West Cork man explained you can't get distracted by that. 

"They are things you can think about when the game is over. We’ve got to just focus on our process for the next two weeks, stick to our training, they are the important things, we can talk about good football when we retire.

"It is important to distance yourself from that (what supporters think), it can be quite draining. It is important that we stick to what we have been doing all along and coming up to the Limerick game."

A teacher in Bantry, Deane admitted it's hard to escape from football in his hometown and relegation from the second tier of the league didn't make it any easier.

"It is tough at times. You can’t take any of it personally. The staff and kids are very good below, they understand what you put in. 

"For the most part, they are very respectful of that. You’d have a bit of slagging here and there from the kids, but it is all in good nature. We are very lucky where I work. Most of them mean the best 99% of the time. There is no ill-nature with regard to the other 1%."

He's off duty from school now, but keeping busy is important.

"You can’t be getting out of bed at 11 or 12 in the day. You have got to have a structure in your day. It is not the easiest thing to manage because you do have a routine and you have got to stick to that routine. It slightly changes in that you are not in school teaching kids but you have got to have your own plan for the day, as well."

Deane, and Cork, started like a train against Kerry 12 months ago, with the Rebels hitting two goals early and his running cutting the Kingdom open. That is until a black card.

"Those things are frustrating. There are 30 lads on a pitch to one referee. It is difficult to get everything right. I’ve completely forgotten about that since then. You cannot change anything about the past, unfortunately. 

"You have just got to move on from those things. Everyone makes mistakes, be it giving away a kick pass that could lead to the opposition getting a goal. Referees, in the same way, can make a mistake as well."

Cork have used the challenge-match circuit to sharpen up since the league ended, defeating Roscommon most recently. While Deane doesn't believe you can read too much into those games, a winning habit has been important.

"It means nothing going into this game because you are only as good as your last game. It is important to be winning matches and be creating a good atmosphere. 

"You saw there were four debutants the last day. For them, it is invaluable. For us, we need to be playing teams at the highest level and competing."

They don't get higher than the Kingdom.

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