UNDER-fire Cork football manager Ronan McCarthy wouldn’t be drawn on his future following a record 22-point defeat, 4-22 to 1-9, by Kerry in the Munster final in Killarney yesterday.
He was handed a two-year extension to his original three-year deal at the end of last season, so McCarthy has one more year at the helm.
“In fairness to the lads I’ve come out. I didn’t have to. I come out, win or lose,” he said.
“There are three parties to the conversation, the county board, the players and myself and I’m hardly going to talk about it now.”
It was a depressing weekend for Cork football on top of the shock news that U20 star Conor Corbett’s season is over following a cruciate knee injury sustained in the Munster final win over Tipperary last Thursday.
The Clyda Rovers clubman must sit out next weekend’s All-Ireland semi-final against Offaly as well as his club’s three games against Fermoy, Mallow and Bantry Blues in the Senior A Championship.
The DCU student, who is eligible again next season, sustained the injury just before the first water-break but returned to kick two super points with either foot before not re-appearing for the second half.
This was Kerry’s 82nd provincial title as Cork’s wait for their next since 2012 goes on while a last victory in Killarney was as far back as 1995.
It’s a setback. You lose by two or 20, that’s it. Someone said last week a gallant defeat is still a defeat.
“I would have said in 2019 and 2020 that we played Kerry in three hours of championship football and there was only a point in it over the two games.
“Kerry are the type of team that if you allow them get ahead of you there’s no better side to open you up.
“They like to play with flair and abandon and you can do that when you’re 10 points up. Kerry are probably the best in the business at that.
“It’s the sort of game you have to stay in and be tight and we didn’t do that.
“We can feel sorry for ourselves or we can dust ourselves down and do something about it. That’s up to the lads what they want to do.”
Cork started well enough and led by five points twice before the first water break.
“We had no pressure on their kick-out so while we were scoring early they were getting the ball out too easily and I was very disappointed with that.
“I also reckon we should have had four or five more points in the first half and instead of putting scores on the board at one end, we ended up conceding at the other.
“That’s what happens when you turn the ball over here at this level on the 45 or in the middle of the field.
“We were five down at half-time, but it wouldn’t have flattered us to be closer maybe even level or just a point behind.
“Against a team like Kerry, you then find yourselves in a position where you have to go after the game and can leave yourself open at the back.
“You saw Kerry putting men behind the ball and then counter-attack, something they did very well and obviously the second half was a big struggle for us.”
The one bright aspect of a best-forgotten afternoon was the magnificent display of young defender Sean Meehan, who held David Clifford scoreless from play.
“He was simply outstanding and has to get an All-Star out of that. Sean was absolutely unbelievable throughout the game and so too Kevin Flahive and Kevin O’Donovan.”