“Cork football will never go away,” said U20 manager Keith Ricken in the aftermath of their stunning come-from-behind All-Ireland final win.
Their 3-16 to 1-14 win over Dublin is the county’s first All-Ireland football title, junior excluded, since the Sam Maguire triumph of 2010 and follows a difficult couple of seasons for Cork football which gave rise to the publication of a five-year plan back in January in a bid to turn around the county’s fortunes.
Ricken didn’t need to be told how significant a result this was.
“There hasn't been an All-Ireland title for a while. Cork people by their nature are probably impatient, myself included. We always want something better just because we have a fierce belief in our ability. We have a belief that there are very good footballers in the county, but that doesn't always necessarily translate out onto the field,” said Ricken.
“There are a lot of good football people in Cork. They are brilliant people and they have done so much for Cork football down through the years. They'll take confidence out of this. The next generation of coaches are fantastic, I do see them working with the U15s and U16s at CIT. They are fantastic people and they'll do their bit when they take over.
“Cork football will never go away. It might take a dip the odd time, but the big thing is that when the wheel does turn, you are ready for it, and that is what we are trying to do. When the wheel does turn for us again, we are going to be ready for it.”
The manager praised his players for the manner in which they pulled back a nine-point deficit.
“We left ourselves wide open and got caught. The big thing was that they were trying to solve their own problems. It's a thing we all do. What else were we going to do, crawl into a corner? There was no corner here. There was going to be another 45, 50 minutes to play and we were not looking good. It was either man up or die. They did that very well. They stuck at it, they made their decisions.
“When the goal went in, when we were 1-6 down or whatever it was, we won the next ball, we settled down, went up the field and got the next score. Then we went up the field and got the next score after that. Just to see that bit of confidence in them, that bit of belief, that's all they need. They finished the half as they did, it was fantastic. They're a great credit to this generation.”
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