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'This team is different. There’s more resolve in it' - Cork return to final stage

Cork selector Diarmuid O’Sullivan praised his team after today’s win.

Cork's Kieran Kingston and Diarmuid O'Sullivan.
Cork's Kieran Kingston and Diarmuid O'Sullivan.
Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

DIARMUID O’SULLIVAN HAILED the character of the Cork team as they produced a powerful extra-time surge to clinch All-Ireland semi-final success today.

Cork celebrated at the final whistle but the end of normal time was a different scenario, they had been left stunned by a Kilkenny comeback with Adrian Mullen netting from the last passage of play to force extra-time.

Cork selector O’Sullivan praised the reaction of Tim O’Mahony after he had been turned over in possession for that critical goal.

“That’s the way we play the game. We will accept mistakes. Tim put it to bed before he got to the dressing room, he came back out and he had an incredible 20 minutes after that.

“The mistake didn’t trouble him, it didn’t trouble our team so that was the important factor. Before, it might have but this team is different. There’s more resolve in it and we are quite pleased with where we have come.

“(An) extraordinary game. I think we have to take our hats off to both sets of players there, just to go as hard as they did for as long as they did; I think it was a remarkable achievement.”

kieran-kingston-and-patrick-horgan-celebrate-after-the-game Cork's Patrick Horgan and Kieran Kingston. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

O’Sullivan outlined how Cork’s mindset has changed in recent times.

“It not something that we have done, the lads have taken control of all of these little scenarios and all these little points that are important to win games. Yes, it was a sucker punch but once we got to the dressing room the players took control of the scenario and took control of the situation again. We’ve asked them to be different over the last 12 to 18 months, last year was an interruption obviously and we couldn’t get to where we wanted to get to last year.

“So we took the winter to prepare and talk about that resolve and our strength in depth and bits and pieces. So it’s down to what’s inside the dressing room, it’s that heart, that willingness and any person who wants to climb Everest has to go through it. Our guys, we are extremely proud of them because maybe 12 or 24 months ago, take the Tipperary game last year, we had Tipperary on the back foot and we couldn’t see it out, so today was very pleasing from our point of view.”

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The success propels Cork into the final for the first time in eight years, their squad has changed vastly since that 2013 showdown.

“We had nine lads who had never played in Croke Park before today before we came up. They have no baggage. There’s one or two lads who have been unsuccessful here in an All-Ireland but they know those are days they are never going to get back again, so that’s history. Them games against Clare; they can never get them back. It’s not going to be an issue for us. We are not going to dwell on it.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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