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Patrick Cronin of Cork in action against Cian Dillon of Clare during the All-Ireland senior hurling final replay at Croke park. Photograph by John Kelly

Eight hurleys made for outfielders to face Nash thunderbolts

AFTER the drawn game everyone knew that any 21 yard free for Cork was likely to result in a goal and on Saturday evening Cian Dillon said that especially large hurleys had been made for defenders to use whenever Nash came up the field.
“It was kind of funny in training when Fitzy told us there might be 12 or 13 of us on the line and that we’d be getting hurleys made for us. We had eight especially big hurleys to try and stop them! It didn’t work for the first one, he didn’t really connect with the last one, maybe he was put off by the amount of us!” the Crusheen defender said.
Clare led by four points at the break, but it had been eight points earlier on. While Cork had found their stride, there was still great confidence in the Banner dressing room, Dillon said. “At half time, in every game we’ve played this year, we’ve always had unbelievable faith in ourselves and the plan we have on the field. We always try and carry out exactly what Fitzy says inside and today was no different. We had faith in ourselves, even though Cork came back into the game. We probably felt we let them back in a bit softly but I thought we showed unbelievable character to pull away again even after they hit us for that goal.”
In the drawn game Dillon was tasked with shackling Pat Horgan, but Cork put Pa Cronin in on him on Saturday. Dillon said he had been given an idea of what was coming beforehand. “The lads had heard he could be in there, we were kind of prepared for him running out the field and looking for puckouts and stuff.”
When asked if one of the frees given to Cronin in the second half was of the soft variety, he said; “I thought more than one! That’s for another day though, at least we’re not mulling over them now!” Indeed, TV replays showed that several of the frees given against him were dubious.
The performance of Shane O’Donnell was the story of the day and Dillon paid tribute to him. “He only found out this morning that he was getting a start. It was such an unbelievable display for a young lad to come in like that and absolutely tear the full back line apart. To score 3-3 in an All Ireland final, unbelievable for him. He’s an unreal player and he always puts it up to us in training. A super hurler, a great eye for goal, and he won’t stop until he gets one.”

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