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Cork boss Conor Counihan: 'These fellas just don't give up'

The Rebels manager paid tribute to his side’s resilience after yesterday’s qualifier victory over Galway in Croke Park.

Cork boss Conor Counihan.
Cork boss Conor Counihan.
Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

CORK MANAGER CONOR Counihan hailed his side’s battling qualities as they fought back in the second-half to claim honours against Galway last night in Croke Park.

Victory arrived by 1-17 to 1-16 for Cork as Michael Meehan’s last gasp goal for Galway when he struck a thunderbolt to the net trimmed the eventual margin to the minimum.

But Cork were forced to work extremely hard to secure victory as they trailed Galway by 0-13 to 0-8 in the 45th minute and were still three points down with nine minutes remaining.

The Rebels refusal to throw in the towel served them well in the finale with the substitutes they sprung from the bench proving integral to their success.

“These fellas have been on the road a long time and they just don’t give up,” said Counihan. “That’s something that’s hard to buy and it’s really what you want in a typical championship battle. They pulled it out again today.

“It’s guys coming off the bench that are going to give it that extra bit. If you don’t have that you’re not going to win in the championship.”

The match was notable for Cork being thwarted in their attempts to hit the net, by a combination of Manus Breathnach’s outstanding shot-stopping and the woodwork, until Aidan Walsh palmed the ball in for a goal with five minutes left.

“Over the 70 minutes I felt we didn’t get too many breaks in terms of (converting) goal-scoring chances,” outlined Counihan. “Their keeper did exceptionally well and the number of balls that came off the post.

“They have to make up their minds in those situations and every one of them that took the opportunity I felt it was on. At stages there towards the finish, Galway looked very strong and we looked to be vulnerable.

“We’d definitely be disappointed with some of the scores we conceded particularly in the first half. They got the run on us, we did turn over the ball alright towards the end of the first half.”

Cork now gear up for an All-Ireland quarter-final showdown with Dublin next Sunday in what will be their ninth successive season reaching this stage of the championship.

The only time they have failed to win a quarter-final tie was two years ago when Mayo emerged victors by a four-point margin. Counihan admitted afterwards that Cork will continue to monitor the fitness of Patrick Kelly before the game.

The Ballincollig club man missed all of this year’s league campaign with a hip injury and only came on as a substitute last night as his recovery continues.

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Fintan O'Toole

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