Donall Farmer/INPHO Cork boss Ephie Fitzgerald with the Brendan Martin Cup.
# Glory Days
Cork boss - 'United were lucky to have Keane - we have 9 or 10 of them'
Ephie Fitzgerald saluted another superb triumph by the Cork ladies footballers.

IT’S ONLY HIS first year in the role but Ephie Fitzgerald was savouring an All-Ireland title win in Croke Park yesterday.

He’s started in 2016 working with Cork’s exceptional ladies football outfit and yesterday they collected the Brendan Martin Cup for a staggering 11th time in 12 seasons.

The Nemo Rangers man heaped praise upon this remarkable Cork squad as they continue to demonstrate extraordinary consistency.

“I think I said earlier in the week there, if you look at Roy Keane as an analogy in terms of his massive will to win, total focus.

“United were lucky to have Keane – we have 9 or 10 of them. There’s never any talk of what they’ve won, it’s always the next one, the next one and the next one, when’s the next training session or the next match.

“That’s the secret of their success – their humility, their respect for one another, their respect for the game. Nothing would surprise me with this bunch.”

Fitzgerald took the reins of this Cork side after the trophy-laden era that Eamonn Ryan has supervised. But the 2016 campaign has unfolded like a dream.

“It’s beyond my wildest dreams really that we’d win the Munster championship, the league and the All-Ireland. The old cliché is you take one game at a time but we really did.

Ciara O'Sullivan raises the trophy in the air as the team celebrates Tommy Dickson / INPHO Cork players celebrate their triumph. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

“The only game I worried about all year was the Cavan one to be honest with you because we hadn’t seen a whole lot of them.

“These games, it’s not an accident that the girls come out the right side of these games, they’re just driven. In the last quarter of an hour, I thought Rena (Buckley) and Briege (Corkery), they got on so much ball, Deirdre O’Reilly drove us forward, (as did) Ciara O’Sullivan.

“In the first-half our forward line didn’t really function at all, there was no fluidity, Dublin were getting a hand in and winning all the 50-50s.

“That’s character, when you’re not playing well and you come out and you can give that kind of performance. They have that in abundance – they can file things away when things aren’t going well. It’s always the next ball and that’s to their eternal credit.”

Fitzgerald opted not to deal with the controversy surrounding Dublin’s first-half point that was not awarded.

“Listen, lads, I’ve no comment to make on that. As far as we’re concerned, we’re All-Ireland champions.

“I don’t know what went on out there, I haven’t looked at it. There’s no Hawk-Eye or whatever.

“I didn’t think that was a penalty either at the end. You can have all these situations but as far as we’re concerned, we’re All-Ireland champions and that’s that.”

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The decision was taken not to use Hawk-Eye in ladies football earlier this year

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