Keith Ricken: Every game is a learning curve for players and management

New Cork manager saw his side emerge victorious from a trip to Milltown Malbay
Keith Ricken: Every game is a learning curve for players and management

Cork manager Keith Ricken during the McGrath Cup group A match between Clare and Cork at Hennessy Memorial Park in Miltown Malbay. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

CORK got off to a winning start under new manager Keith Ricken in the McGrath Cup in Clare.

They finished the game with 14 men following the dismissal of substitute Tadhg Corkery for a second yellow card just before the hour.

Cork led by 2-9 to 0-7 at the time and while they wouldn’t score again, with Clare kicking three on the spin, the result was still never in doubt.

“Tadhg was probably slightly unlucky with his first yellow because he tried to meet the player with an honest hard shoulder and that’s not taking from the referee, who saw it as he saw it,” said manager Keith Ricken.

“The second yellow he shouldn’t have picked up and he knows that himself, but all of a sudden we’re down to 14 men. Yet, it was good to see young fellows trying to man up as Clare started running at us.”

Bizarrely, Cork scored 1-6 at the Atlantic goal, when playing into the gale and only 1-3 in the second half.

Contrasting sharply with that statistic, Clare scored more with the elements, 0-7 in the opening half and only 0-3, all bundled into the closing minutes of the second period.

“Funnily enough the goal where the wind was blowing into was the harder one to score.

“The ball seemed to be going over the bar only for a gust of wind to drag it away from the posts and it must have happened about six times.

“Still, it was great to score two goals and that’s what people come to see.”

Ricken had no issues with the game taking place in Milltown Malbay, 30-odd minutes west of Ennis.

It’s lovely to be invited into anybody’s home and this is the home of Clare football, whether you like it or not.

“I know it was a miserable day, but I would respect Clare for the invitation and it’s not a matter of them dragging us out to the wilds. I know their manager Colm Collins isn’t that kind of guy.

“We came here to find out things about ourselves and we did find out about each person, including us as a management group.

“I’d say we got a five or six out of 10, getting a few things right and a few things wrong and I’d think the players will be the same.”

The organisation was also different because of Covid.

“There was no bus so everybody had to get cars or organise lifts, especially some of the young fellows who mightn’t even drive.

“In fairness, they went away got it organised and came here, where they gave it their heart and soul. I got that out of the day.”

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