‘A little bit of experience told in the end’

 

JIMMY BARRY-MURPHY has experienced defeat with the Cork senior hurlers at Páirc Uí Chaoimh before. In his first championship game in charge of the county – in 1995 – the home side lost to Limerick, the first time the Cork senior hurling team had been beaten at home in championship hurling in 75 years. But, as a player or manager, before yesterday, he had never experienced defeat to Tipperary in championship fare.

It hurt.

“A little bit of experience told in the end,” offered the Cork boss. “We had opportunities, and we didn’t take them. The disallowed goal was a major factor – we would have gone in at half-time with a five-point lead. Playing with the breeze, we would have needed that. We just have to take it on the chin and move on.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the players, because the league final was a debacle for us. We felt we took the blame for that on the line. We felt we hadn’t prepared the players for the challenge Kilkenny would give. We sleepwalked into it. But we’re thrilled with the response the players gave here.”

One of the Cork players who couldn’t be faulted was Patrick Horgan, who scored 11 points, two from play. His accuracy from placed ball was matched by Tipp’s Pa Burke, who hit 12 points, three from play. However, in Horgan’s opinion, it was man-of-the-match Noel McGrath’s goal that swung the game.

“Whoever got the goal was going to win. We’re disgusted, but we go back training now and we’re just going to have to put it behind us. We showed today we can play with anyone. We were flying. We were just unlucky they got a break and got a goal and that was it.”

Declan Ryan agreed with the importance of the goal. The last time there had not been a goal in a senior championship clash between Cork and Tipp was 1900. “It was a super goal,” agreed the Tipperary manager. “A real team goal. Delighted with the way Lar (Corbett) got his pass in there, and Noel (McGrath) finished it off. We needed the goal at the time. I thought there was a goal or two to be got today.

“I’m really pleased for the players and the backroom team, they’ve put in a huge effort – particularly over the past few weeks, they’ve really knuckled down. I think that was shown on the field of play.”

Corbett entered the field with two minutes of normal time to play during the first half, but had to wait until the second half to touch the ball. However, when the goal chance came, he said he didn’t even think about going for it himself.

“When you’re called upon, you’re called upon, you just have to be ready from the start – like everybody else. The best man at the moment to take the right option is Noel McGrath. Whatever percentage chance I had of scoring, Noel had a higher percentage chance. We saw it in the match between Kilkenny and Dublin. The man in the best position gets the ball, and that’s it.”

Corbett was asked whether, after Saturday’s match in Portlaoise, there’s a sense that Kilkenny are just unstoppable? “We have to believe, we have to believe, and we believe.”

– DAMIAN CULLEN

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