THESE men showed character, they showed heart, you cannot beat that.
That was how selector Diarmuid O’Sullivan described the players, who had just restored the pride in Cork hurling in defeating Tipp in the Munster championship opener at Thurles yesterday.
O’Sullivan’s voice was choking with emotion as he saluted the men who had given everything for the cause to silence the critics and send out a strong message that the good times might just be about to roll again.
“There was no one out there who didn’t give everything they had, didn’t give everything they had to the shirt, didn’t give everything they had to the group over the last couple of months.
“Guys who have been around this group a long time gave everything, I could not be happier for them, I really couldn’t.
“I have had my own success coming up here but with this group of players, I couldn’t be happier to be a Cork man at this moment in time."
And the former great had very special words of praise for Cork’s super sub, Mikey Cahalane from Bandon who secured the vital and match-winning second goal.
A couple of years ago he was told he’d never hurl again because of a heart complaint but he has come back to become an integral part of this Cork set-up.
“You could not be happier for a fella like him. The game of hurling is of secondary importance to what that man and his family went through.
“And you know what, I’d love to meet his mother and father right now, they must be the two proudest people here and his immediate family.’’
Meanwhile, Cork boss Kieran Kingston, delighted though that he was, urged caution going forward.
“The game against Waterford will take on a life of its own, it’s important that we stay grounded because today will have no bearing on it.
“We didn’t look beyond today, we had no right to but we’ll start thinking about the next game from tonight on.’’