As I said on Friday ‘when the cuckoo sings’ the Cork hurlers are dangerous, and when Cork think like that, there is going to be only one answer.
What this will do for Cork’s morale and confidence both for management and players, and especially Pat Ryan who took over the coaching duties this year, is immense. The first touch was brilliant, and that is down to good coaching. The team were in excellent physical condition also. I think Pat Hartnett and The Rock have passed on that real steel they possessed in their own game, to the present defenders.
I recall a conversation I had with the Cork U21 manager Damian Irwin last year, when they were beaten in the Munster championship. He said at the time that although they were beaten, a consolation was that four of his team would play senior next year and have a great future: Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Shane Kingston and Luke Meade.
Irwin is a good judge of hurling but I didn’t believe him as I didn’t think they would come through as quick. Not alone did they come through with flying colours today, but they were the inspiration for the experienced players.
I met a lot of Cork supporters, including some Cork media, who were on a high after the game. It was good to see all the Cork youngsters with hurleys in their hands out on the pitch hurling and getting autographs. We haven’t had that scene from Cork in the last number of years, especially in Thurles. Their fans bring something extra special to the occasion with their humour and passion.
Before I finish, I’d like to say, the greatest highlight for many people, and especially for himself and his family, was to see Michael Cahalane coming on the field. Not alone to come on, but to get the vital score.