Turns out Ciarán Sheehan was tempted to come home to Cork from Australia. While making his way with Carlton, in Aussie Rules football, the All-Ireland medallist kept up with Éire Óg’s performance in the intermediate ranks.
Leaning against the wall outside a bouncing Cork dressing-room, happiness and contentment radiating from the broad smile he’s wearing, Cork U20 captain Peter O’Driscoll conveys his hope that this sensational come-from-behind final victory “will be the start of something”.
When Cork football rolled out its 2024 vision document last month, it was generally applauded how pragmatic its proponents like Graham Canty were by acknowledging that Cork were now outside the top 10 teams in the country, in truth, a mid-table Division Two side, and a distant second in Munster.
It might only be the McGrath Cup, but the Cork footballers, for a variety of reasons, would be best served by ensuring the pre-season silverware is perched at the front of the team bus when it pulls out of Willie Clancy country tomorrow afternoon.
All-Ireland-winning captain Graham Canty reckons Cork can no longer be considered a top-10 football county — and has warned that breaking back into the championship elite is a far tougher proposition than it was in his heyday.
Cork GAA chairman Ger Lane has given tacit approval to an independent company, featuring current and former inter-county players, which is set to begin a round of US fund-raising initiatives aimed at better resourcing the Cork senior footballers and hurlers.
Dónal Óg Cusack will be in the Clare dugout at the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh when the Banner take on Tipperary in the All-Ireland quarter-final, but he hasn’t yet set foot in the revamped stadium.
What has happened to Cork? When the last time you could actually trust the county’s footballers to deliver on the big day? Paddy Kelly knows the issues. “We haven’t had a big scalp in the championship the last few years. Even saying that, we sound like of the smaller counties, but this is a huge opportunity to put that right.”