Watch Donal O'Grady on his infamous 'War of Independence' speech: 'It didn't inspire anyone'

By Fergus Jayes

Dónal Óg Cusack caused controversy on TG4 earlier this year when he recalled Cork manager Donal O'Grady's pre-match speech about the War of Independence.

On the Laochra Gael programme, Cusack suggested the speech was given before the 2004 All-Ireland final with Kilkenny, which Cork won.

Cusack said: “I always remember the speech that Donal gave us before the game. It might surprise you: he highlighted or contrasted the difference in terms of the contribution that Cork had given during the War of Independence compared to Kilkenny’s."

However, O'Grady confirms that speech was actually made before the 2003 final with Kilkenny, when Cork were beaten.

“That was a game we actually lost,” said O’Grady, in an interview with Irish Examiner sports editor Tony Leen

“I think if Brian Cody was here, he’d agree that they were very lucky on the day. I think we were just as good as them, if not better.

“We lost that one anyway, so that speech that was made that day didn’t inspire anyone. The thing about speeches is they have to be different from the one you did the last day.

“I would put a bit of preparation in, just to hit a chord with some players. Like you can’t go on about Cork losing to Kilkenny twice in ’82 and ’83. That won’t mean anything to a team in 2003.”

In a wide-ranging chat, the All-Ireland winning defender also talks about the Cork players' strikes, insisting that hurlers really just wanted to hurl.

“Most hurlers they just want to tog out, get on with training, get on with playing, they weren’t that interested in what happened on the administrative side.

“They looked at other counties that were winning things, players that were going to the same colleges, saying he’s doing something for them and getting something back and that they weren’t on the same par as the others.”

More in this Section

Ronnie O’Sullivan grinds his way into Llandudno semi-finals

Football rumours from the media

Stuart Dallas wants Northern Ireland to gain early momentum

Happy Jack Byrne: 'I’m just grateful to have this chance this week'


Finding your tribe

Irish people living in US lockdowns and fearing for the lives of their children

Ask Audrey: What's the story with dying your pubes?

The Menu: All the latest food news from around the world

More From The Irish Examiner