YOU wouldn’t have guessed the final destination of the Munster Senior Cup on Monday night, judging the reaction from the two camps after Cork City’s eventual 4-2 victory over Wilton United.
As Wilton player-manager Stephen Daly spoke about his pride in the jersey and lauded his group of players for the effort put in, on the other side, medal firmly placed in the bag, Cork City midfielder Steven Beattie had an apologetic tone to his voice, and spoke about the disappointment felt in the Rebel Army dressing room, despite winning the Munster Senior Cup for the first time since 2008.
“We’re disappointed in our performance, for a professional setup,” Beattie told reporters gathered outside the players entrance, with John Caulfield unavailable for comment on the game’s completion.
“Everyone as a group is disappointed, but we’ll come back tomorrow, work on it, and try to improve as a group ahead of Friday.
"As a collective effort we weren’t good enough, and I don’t buy the excuse about the break, we’re professional players and that wasn’t a professional performance tonight.
“John put out an 11 that should have won, and fair play to Seanie and (Stephen) Dooley for coming in, but this wasn’t a game they were expected to have to play in.
"I don’t think there’s too many lads looking at their medals, straight into the bag and it’s back to business Friday against Limerick.”
The joy of the cup really was to be found in the losing side, where Stephen Daly, who has worked so hard to build Witon to the force they are today bagged a goal at Turner’s Cross following an intricate corner move, and had a splendid game despite the ultimate disappointing outcome.
“It’s actually Chelsea’s move! Hoggy (Neal Horgan) had it on his phone, and we made a mess of it in a friendly last week but we got it right when it counted!
“It was a phenomenal effort out there by the players, and I’m extremely proud on what’s been a massive occasion for the club.
"There was a lot of pressure in that dressing room, but we knew on the day we’d be able to match them.”
We’ve seen through the likes of Cobh Wanderers how quickly sides can ascent up the levels from a mid-league beginning point, and the progress made already by United in their five years of senior football show optimistic signs for the future.
“The club has to use this as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, we have a great youth team that see what it’s all about tonight, and hopefully we can attract a few more players and hopefully move onwards and upwards."