Cork footballers proved their resilience and character by avoiding the drop

Rebels survived a difficult campaign by winning their last two games against Down and Offaly
Cork footballers proved their resilience and character by avoiding the drop

Cork captain Brian Hurley celebrates a late point as the Rebels avoided relegation. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

CORK survived a fierce battle with Offaly to maintain their Division 2 status after edging a magnificent relegation decider by 1-21 to 1-20 in Tullamore.

Cork needed only a draw to condemn the Faithful to the third tier but went one better to the obvious relief and delight of all involved.

As is becoming the norm, none of the Cork players or management made themselves available to speak afterwards because of the ongoing 'expenses row' between the player representative body, the GPA, and Croke Park.

And so chairman Marc Sheehan stepped in to fill the void and naturally, he was thrilled with the outcome.

“Two weeks ago, we spoke in Navan and there were two objectives, to win the remaining two matches and copperfasten our position in Division 2. We did that,” he said.

“I think if anyone has any questions about resilience or character I think they were answered.

“And I think they were answered over the last two matches as well. It’s been a difficult league certainly but they showed great character.

“There were a lot of injuries over the course of the league, but I’m absolutely delighted for the panel, for management and for everybody who supports the team so enthusiastically.

“It’s a great day, a sunny afternoon in Tullamore, we’re all happy.” 

Mattie Taylor of Cork is congratulated by Cork selector John Cleary after their side's victory in Offaly. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Mattie Taylor of Cork is congratulated by Cork selector John Cleary after their side's victory in Offaly. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Cork remaining in Division 2 means they will be eligible to compete for the Sam Maguire Cup and avoid the new Tailteann Cup for Divisions 3 and 4.

“That’s always the objective, “ commented Sheehan. “We’re in Division 2, that’s confirmed and we know what flows from that in terms of the Sam Maguire.

“We’re a proud footballing county as well and we are building a team and that always takes time. We have been hampered by injuries. I would be confident that some of the injured players will be back into the frame between now and the Kerry game and that will help as well.

Look, we have a proud tradition. We are proud of the players and we will support them every way we can.

“Obviously being in Division 1 or 2 and being in the Sam Maguire is very important as well.” 

Cork had many heroes, none more so than Steven Sherlock, captain Brian Hurley and John O’Rourke who combined for 0-15 between them while Cathail O’Mahony’s early goal helped the side settle quickly in what turned out to be a thriller.

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