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Clare manager David Fitzgerald meets with Cork manager Jimmy Barry Murphy following the All-Ireland senior hurling final at Croke Park. Photograph by John Kelly.
Clare manager David Fitzgerald meets with Cork manager Jimmy Barry Murphy following the All-Ireland senior hurling final at Croke Park. Photograph by John Kelly.

Beaten by a better team

CORK were simply beaten by a better team, Jimmy Barry Murphy readily acknowledged after the game.

Jimmy Barry Murphy, Cork manager can only look on during the closing stages of the All-Ireland senior hurling final replay against Clare at Croke Park. Photograph by John Kelly.
Jimmy Barry Murphy, Cork manager can only look on during the closing stages of the All-Ireland senior hurling final replay against Clare at Croke Park. Photograph by John Kelly.

“My initial thoughts are that, on both days, we were playing catch up from the word go and it’s a difficult thing to do. When you’re in that situation you have to do everything right to get back into a game. We did an awful lot of things right, but it’s got to be perfect at that stage and our luck eventually ran out. We were beaten by a much better team on the day, on both days, I’ve got to acknowledge that they deserved it,” he said.

Asked if Cork could have won the game if they had taken the lead after drawing level from eight points behind, he said, “That’s one of the great imponderables, if we’d taken our chances when we got back level it may have been a different story but we didn’t. There was too much to make up, it took a lot out of us and, as I said, our luck eventually ran out.”

The St Finbarr’s man complimented his players for coming back into a game that seemed to be gone from them at a fairly early stage. “I really mean this, it’s not just a cliché, I’m so proud of them. They were fantastic both days, they showed tremendous spirit. We have fabulous pride in Cork hurling and I think they showed that today. I couldn’t fault them one iota; they’ve been fantastic for us all year. We’ll take our defeat like men now and move on.”

Shane O’Donnell’s display was the biggest story of the day. He paid tribute to the teenager. “He scored a goal against us in Páirc Uí Rinn in the league, he’s a very good player and he posed us a lot of problems again today. In fairness, the quality of the ball into the full-forward line caused us problems as well.”

Podge Collins had been rampant in the drawn match but was held quite well on Saturday. Barry Murphy said all the bases can’t be covered. “We targeted certain players and thought we could minimise their contribution but you can’t legislate for a lad like Shane O’Donnell coming on and scoring three goals. If you plug one hole another opens up. Credit to Clare, they got some great scores and didn’t miss much in fairness to them.”

While the game was a classic, it wasn’t huge consolation to a man who has been involved with various All-Ireland winning Cork sides going back to 1971. “I’m sure it was a great game to watch for people but we are where we are.”

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