Sarsfields goalkeeper Alan Kennedy believes that Cork’s Patrick Collins won’t have any problems bouncing back from the defeat to Galway.
Cork exited the All-Ireland SHC after the quarter-final loss last Saturday week, with Collins letting an early Jack Grealish shot slip through his fingers. Kennedy – a four-time county SHC winner with Sars – can empathise but has no fears about Collins being affected.
“Everyone goes through it, myself included,” he says.
“Unfortunately, mine happened in a county final against Newtownshandrum in 2009 – PJ Copse sent a long ball from midfield and I lost it in the sun.
“We were coming off the back of an unreal 2008 county success and feeling that the team was on the right road. Nothing’s more disheartening from a goalkeeper’s point of view than to leave in something soft.
“As goalies, we’re the most critical out of everyone – we don’t need friends, family, the media telling us it was a soft goal to concede, because we know it ourselves, better than anyone.
“It happens and maybe it’ll happen to Patrick again, it might happen to his brother Ger and it’ll happen to every other goalie in Cork and countrywide, but it’s about having the tools to park it and move on.
“It’s minimal and it’s fine margins. Clearly, he bounced back – he had a good game after that, lasers of puckouts and controlled the backline. He had no chance with the second goal Galway got.”
Against Galway, Cork failed to take scoring opportunities too, but Kennedy is all too aware that keepers’ mistakes are remembered more than the saves.
“You look at last year’s qualifiers, against Clare in Limerick,” he says, “last puck of the game, Tony Kelly came in at an angle and Patrick made the most incredible save.
“Without that save in the 73rd minute, Cork wouldn’t have got to the All-Ireland final, but that’s all forgotten about now. You can be sure that people will talk about this mistake more than the three or four goal chances that Cork had but didn’t take.
“It shouldn’t all fall on Patrick’s head or any goalkeeper’s head for that matter. But he has the tools to deal with it and park it. It was very clear for the following 70 minutes that he did that.”
Ultimately, it’s about moving on from the good and the bad and Kennedy knows that Collins can do that.
“It’s simple enough from a goalie’s point of view – you just have to forget about it and focus on the next ball,” he says.
“With the help of God, the next ball is a handy one: a simple catch or a pass from your corner-back, just to get your hands on it again and it’s forgotten about.
“At the end of the day, he’s playing at the highest level with massive responsibility on his shoulders, 25 years of age – he’s the Cork keeper for the next ten years. You just move on.
“No doubt, coming down on the bus he’d have been thinking, ‘What if?’ but, at the time, you pick the ball out of the net and you look for the runners. The tactics don’t change, you still look for that out ball. It’s the next play, the next play, the next play.
“Equally, Patrick has made unbelievable saves throughout his career but he doesn’t dwell on those, thinking, ‘Jeez, that save I made 30 seconds ago was brilliant.’ Even in the All-Ireland final last year, he made a full-length save from Tom Morrissey – the game was as good as over and he could have made a half-hearted effort but he didn’t. The thing is, that save was parked just as easily as the one he conceded.”