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'It's a superb end to the year for us, two All-Ireland wins going back to Leeside'

Manager Bobbie O’Dwyer hailed his players after Cork’s All-Ireland minor title victory.

Cork players celebrate after the game.
Cork players celebrate after the game.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

A SEASON WHICH began in fairly dismal fashion with the senior side getting relegated to the third tier concluded yesterday for Cork football on a joyous note with silverware secured in Croke Park.

The All-Ireland minor win was collected to follow on from the U20 triumph last month.

A jubilant minor manager Bobbie O’Dwyer was delighted with the impact of this win and praised the role of Conor Counihan who was appointed Cork football project co-ordinator this summer.

“It’s a superb end to the year for us, two All-Ireland wins going back to Leeside which is fantastic. That may not have been what you thought at the start of the year. It’s been outstanding.

“I think I made the point to a few of ye earlier on about confidence and momentum, we definitely got the benefit of the U20s going very, very well and as that was going well that lifted our spirits and we saw that we had an opportunity too.

“We’ve been at a few camps over the last few weeks with kids, kids of 8, 9 and 10, they now have heroes, they now have a Conor Corbett or a Jack Lawton or a Ryan O’Donovan or a Michael O’Neill to look up to.

“You can see it, all during the month of August you go around to the summer camp and the young lads playing football, and they now have young heroes to look up to. Every county needs that, that bit of success. 

“I don’t think it’s any accident that Conor Counihan was appointed the co-ordinator for the GAA down in Cork this year, Conor has pulled an awful lot of strands together within the GAA family down in Cork.

“It’s absolutely no coincidence that the results are starting to go our way because from the point of view of being a manager of a county team, having Conor there, outside of the benefit of his knowledge, but being able to link the parts within the Cork GAA family that need to be linked and being able to remove obstacles that may or may not be there, it has been a huge benefit to the county already.”

Captain Conor Corbett was Cork’s saviour with his late goal to rescue their challenge in normal time and send the game towards additional periods. With 1-7 from play, the Cork full-forward pointed the way with substitute Ryan O’Donovan also making a key contribution.

“Look, Conor Corbett is a guy with incredible talent, and I genuinely don’t want to single out any individual player because we have a panel of 38. That guy is an outstanding footballer and he’ll go on to play an awful lot of football yet.

“Ryan O’Donovan came on, Ryan I suppose is very unlucky not to start in our team because Ryan is an outstanding footballer. We tried to keep Ryan as close to the end as we possibly can because we know he’s going to score.

“I’m not sure what he finished up scoring, 1-2, I mean that made the difference, that and getting the ball into Conor Corbett.”

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conor-corbett-celebrates-scoring-their-second-goal-of-the-game-to-force-extra-time Conor Corbett celebrates scoring the second goal of the game for Cork. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

O’Dwyer hailed the character of his players for their performances in a season which began with a heavy defeat at the hands of Kerry before they rebounded

“A very, very satisfying result and that’s for sure. An absolutely outstanding comeback by our guys because Galway frustrated us for long times in that game with their defensive setup. They have a very, very good defensive setup and I suppose we weren’t patient enough with working the ball into where we needed to get it. 

“These lads shipped a fair shellacking the first day down in Cork in the first round of the championship. The resilience they showed the following week to go up and play a very good Clare team above in Ennis, to say you can pick up a team that have lost a game by 16 points and for them to give the performance that they did above in Clare, it showed absolutely tremendous character.

“We knew the character that was in that team, we’ve been involved with them since they were U14. We’ve had four years on the go with them and that’s one thing that can never be questioned about them, their character, we’re just so proud of them.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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