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'Kerry have a monopoly on sportswriting and the telly' - Paul Kerrigan looks forward to Kingdom showdown

The Rebels managed to book their place in the provincial decider on Saturday.

The Cork skipper celebrates at the final whistle.
The Cork skipper celebrates at the final whistle.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

CORK SET UP a Munster football final against Kerry – to be held potentially — in the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

But Rebels skipper Paul Kerrigan admits they ‘got out of jail’ with their hard-fought one-point win over Tipperary in the provincial semi-final on Leeside on Saturday evening.

Luke Connolly palmed the ball to the net in the 70th minute to seal Cork’s passage.

“I felt we owned the second half so we got out of jail in one way,” Kerrigan told Red FM’s Big Red Bench last night.

“But even if we didn’t kick the goal there was still a couple of minutes left and I felt we could have kicked two points to level it. But look a win’s a win and we’re happy to be in a Munster final and it’s two wins on the bounce.”

The poor first-half performance prompted a strong reaction from RTÉ panelist Colm O’Rourke at Páirc Uí Rinn at the break and, ultimately, the manner of the win has been questioned by Cork football fans and experts outside the county.

“The results are there,” the Nemo man said, however. “Cork’s very much a winning county. On the other hand, Cork have only won seven All-Ireland football titles which isn’t a whole pile compared to other counties.

“We get unbelievable criticism, but you wouldn’t want to have it any other way here. Cork people expect you to win. And look, I know our performances probably will be criticised, but for our team at the moment, we’re after getting two wins on the bounce and we’re in a Munster final. You see the likes of Mayo are out now today, and into the qualifiers. Kilkenny are out in the hurling, into the qualifiers. We’re just trying to get the wins.”

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And the examination of this Cork team will only intensify over the next few weeks with a curtain raiser at the new stadium pencilled in for July 2 against the old enemy.

Former Kingdom stars have been some of the most vocal critics of Cork football in recent times.

“Yeah, they kind of have a monopoly on the sportswriting and on telly. It suits them to have a cut off us all the time,” Kerrigan says.

“They’re the form team in the country at the moment. They’ve dethroned Dublin. We need no motivation playing at home in the Páirc. A lot of people would drive by it a lot and people will want to see how it’s going.

“People can criticise all they want. I think it motivates people in different ways. My motivation is to get a good performance out of this team; for other fellas it might be to prove people wrong. But look, it’s up to them if they want to criticise us.”

Brendan O’Sullivan kicks two points and receives rousing ovation as Kerry juniors ease past Limerick

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