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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019

'I didn’t want that to be my last involvement with Cork, it was a very degrading, humiliating defeat'

Cork are back on the championship trail against Tipperary after losing to Kildare.

Fintan Goold in action for Cork against Kildare last summer.
Fintan Goold in action for Cork against Kildare last summer.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

THE CORK FOOTBALLERS crashed out of the 2015 championship in disastrous fashion last summer, convincingly beaten by Kildare in a Round 4 qualifier.

It was the last game of Brian Cuthbert’s tenure and the nature of the defeat prompted several experienced members of the squad to consider their futures after that humbling loss in Thurles.

Fintan Goold is the last survivor in the current Cork squad from the 2005 Munster final and describes the aftermath of that game last July as ‘a pretty soul-searching moment’.

“I think everyone inside in that dressing room that night was looking at the wall and thinking about it, it was a pretty soul-searching moment.

“For whatever reason, we just didn’t get our heads right in the week after the Kerry replay and Kildare came and they were very hungry and we just had no answer for them on the night.

“It left a very sour taste in the mouth. It was very unfortunate for Brian and the lads that that’s how it had to finish up for them. Personally, as well, we didn’t want to finish on a note like that.

Brian Cuthbert Former Cork boss Brian Cuthbert after their loss to Kildare Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“I didn’t want that to be my last involvement with Cork, it was a very degrading or humiliating defeat, whatever way you want to put it.

“We took a lot of flak for that, I can see the hurlers are getting it at the moment, it’s not easy.

“Lads are training very hard – as are other counties, it’s not an excuse either – but what we’re trying for this summer is just to give it our best shot.

“We’ll try to prepare as best we can, but we’ll try to enjoy it too.”

Cork’s players were in the firing line after that loss but they’ve long been aware that criticism is volleyed in their direction.

“You’d know from family members or friends, it’d be more that they’d hear things down the pub or on the street,” admits Goold.

“Close friends might say it back, ‘You’re getting a bit of flak’, some people might say it to you directly, but I think, at the same time, a lot of people respect the honesty and the effort that goes into it.

“There’s no-one trying to get anything out of this, they’re trying to do the best they can. I do think generally, across the country at the moment, the level of commitment and dedication has gone up and the level of criticism and scrutiny has gone up with it.

Donncha O'Connor reacts after missing a chance Donncha O'Connor reacts after missing a chance against Kerry last summer Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“It makes it more and more difficult for amateur players. You’re asking an awful lot of guys and at the same time they’re shipping a lot of flak.

“At the end of the day, there’ll only be one winner at the end of the season but everyone else then is seen as a failure.”

2016 has been an injury-plagued season for Goold. He hurt his calf in an inter-firm game last November but it proved a troublesome injury to heal.

Sidelined during the league, Goold filled the role of stats man for some of Cork’s spring encounters.

“Early on in the year we were all helping out, doing a bit for games. It’s good to see it on the other side, we’re on the receiving end of these things in dressing rooms and we analyse them a lot.

“You do see different things when you’re sitting up in the stand sometimes, you’re almost detached from the emotion a little bit.

“Sometimes, when you’re injured you’d nearly prefer to be away from it, to be honest, but it was good and it gave me a connection with a lot of new lads in the squad.”

Fintan Goold Fintan Goold (centre) in action for Cork against Tipperary in 2014 Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Tipperary next Sunday afternoon represent Cork’s first assignment of 2016.

“You have to set your own goals as a team as to what you want out of a season and what you consider a success,” states Goold.

“For us, starting on Sunday it’s Tipperary and we’ve no right to look beyond that because, truth be told, we stole a game off them two years ago and their underage players have beaten Cork so I don’t think they’re going to fear us.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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