JBM hails Rebels’ resilience

As befits one of the greatest dual players of all time, Jimmy Barry-Murphy put yesterday’s win for Cork in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final in a wider context immediately.

“I’m delighted, delighted for the Cork supporters. They got a bit of stick over not following the footballers last week but they came in magnificent numbers today. People in Cork have really gotten behind the team, so I’m delighted for the players and for the public.”

Barry-Murphy agreed the team had come a long way since losing the Munster final: “That was a big setback to us because it was a game we felt we could win and the week after, training was quite low.

“But fair play to the players, they’ve been brilliant since then and I suppose the fact that we were playing Kilkenny focused minds, certainly. It was just a matter of whether we’d come back after the defeat in the Munster final, but the win over Kilkenny gave us a great fillip, beating such an outstanding team had to be a boost to us, and it was great for our confidence.

“And that showed at times today – we might not have played brilliantly, but we did enough to win. The character the team is showing, particularly in the first half when Dublin got a goal . . . that could have been a crucial point but we still came back to lead at half-time, which showed character.”

Cork haven’t been scoring goals, though. Is that a worry?

“It doesn’t as long as we’re winning matches, you must be doing something right. I think goals may come along when you need them.

“We got a break today and the goal gave us a cushion we needed against a Dublin team which was absolutely brilliant. They played some great hurling but we just got over the line.”

They also needed three points from goalkeeper Anthony Nash.

“They were crucial, a great boost because long range scores lift a team and lift supporters. If he hadn’t scored one of them we might have fallen behind, so those were great scores.”

The Barrs’ clubman was also generous in his praise for Dublin.

“The whole game seemed tit for tat, they’d score, we’d score, they’d go ahead, we’d go ahead.

“They’ve been around a couple of years, as I said before the game they’ve won a National League, a Leinster title, they’ve beaten Kilkenny and Galway. I don’t need to tell ye their credentials.

“At the start of the year I wasn’t thinking of getting to an All-Ireland final, I wasn’t thinking beyond surviving in the National League because we were trying to build up the team after a long number of years without success.

We’re there now and we’ll try to win it. We’ll give it our best shot – why not?”

When asked if he was enjoying himself, Barry-Murphy laughed, but he also acknowledged the significance of Ryan O’Dwyer’s red card for Dublin: “I am now, certainly. I don’t know about the last few months but I am now, definitely.

“It’s a different era, a different scene, there are a lot of different factors involved. We’ve won nothing yet – not a Munster title or a league so we’ve a lot of work to do. But I’m enjoying it immensely.”

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