Cork hoping to halt Kerry’s five in-a-row bid in minor final

Brendan Larkin

However, coach Sean Geaney makes light of this statistic, preferring to concentrate on retaining the title rather than creating records.

“Games don’t come any bigger for players than this. While neither side was impressive in qualifying, that won’t matter tomorrow,” said Geaney.

“There will be no need to motivate players for this game. If a fella can’t lift himself for a Munster final he shouldn’t be there.”

Cork lost their opening match to Clare, whose reward for winning was a semi-final against the champions. That defeat forced Cork to take the scenic route, something that hasn’t been lost on their coach Der O’Donovan.

“There were a number of extenuating circumstances for that defeat by Clare. Cork schools did very well in the Munster Colleges and Vocational Championships which didn’t give us sufficient time to prepare.

“Losing the game turned out to be a blessing. It gave us three extra games, and we got the opportunity to try out a number of things and prepare our team a lot better without too much interference,” said O’Donovan.

“Our form against Tipperary was excellent, and if we can perform like that tomorrow I would be reasonably confident we can get a result.”

Geaney wasn’t surprised at the challenge Clare gave his side. “Any team that beats Cork has to be respected but it was difficult to try and convince our players of that.

“When you come from Kerry it’s seen as automatic that you will beat the likes of Clare and the others except Cork easily, but I knew Clare would come to Tralee with all guns blazing and they certainly put it up to us.

“We had taken some flak as selectors for the team we picked for that game, but I’d make no apologies for that. We picked players who were in form, but we were delighted to be proven wrong. All credit to those players who went on as subs, they gave us our answer.”

Tipperary had great expectations going into their semi-final against Cork. They had beaten Kerry at under 14 level and had put in a huge amount of work but simply had no answer to Cork.

“We got the perfect start with an early goal and our confidence grew from there on and there was only one team in the game,” said O’Donovan.

“I would like to think we saw the potential of our team in that game, but as a coach you are never entirely satisfied and I feel there is still room for improvement in certain areas.

“Kerry never send out a poor minor team and like ourselves have put a lot of effort into preparing their squad, but it will take a very good side to beat us if we play to our potential.”

KERRY: G Kissane (Kerins O’Rahilly’s); C O’Mahony (Ballydonoghue), M Moloney (Dr Croke’s), K Young (Renard); J Wrenn (Dr Croke’s), G Duffy (Kerins O’Rahilly’s), S Enright (Tarbert); K Brosnan (Castleisland Desmonds), A O’Sullivan (Tuosist); J Falvey (Fossa), K O’Leary (Dr Croke’s), B Looney (do.); P Curran (Waterville), P O’Connor (Kenmare), M O’Donoghue (Spa).

CORK: T O’Connor (Douglas); J O’Callaghan (Doneraile), E Cotter (Douglas), C O’Brien (Nemo Rangers); S Kiely (Macroom), M O’Brien (Mallow), A Fenton (St Vincent’s); F Lynch (Valley Rovers), A Barry (Douglas); C O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh’s), D Crowley (Bishopstown), R Kenny (Nemo Rangers); C O’Neill (Ballyclough), D Scannell (Kiskeam), D Kearney (Nemo Rangers).

Referee: R Hickey (Clare).

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