We were always chasing it, says JBM

Jimmy Barry-Murphy was his usual composed self at the final whistle in Croke Park.

We were always chasing it, says JBM

“My initial thoughts are that both days, really, we were playing catch-up from the word go,” said the Cork manager

“The first thing about that situation is that you’ve got to do everything right, but eventually, if you don’t take everything that goes your way — it’s got to be perfect — and our luck eventually ran out. We were beaten by a much better team on the day. On both days, I’ve got to acknowledge, they deserved it.”

Still Cork fought back from an eight-point deficit, and levelled the game in the second half. If they’d nudged their noses ahead...

“That’s one of the great imponderables, if we’d taken our chances when we got back level, it might have been a different story, but we didn’t. There was just too much leeway to make up and our luck eventually ran out.

“After going eight points down our performance in the 10 minutes before half-time and after the break — our lads were outstanding. We made some changes and the subs who came in made a difference. It’s tough for us, but on both days you have to acknowledge they were the better team.”

Barry-Murphy confirmed Cork had worked hard on their puck-out strategy ahead of the replay, but he also acknowledged that sometimes a game throws up a hero nobody saw coming.

“We did (work on puck-outs), we always do, it’s not down to the keeper alone, it’s a collective responsibility. Up to 10 minutes before half-time we were struggling, not winning enough and their midfielders and half-back line were launching quality ball, which caused us problems. Then we got back into the game but our luck ran out.

“Pa (Cronin) had a great game today and he’s been an excellent captain for us all year. You can’t legislate for someone like Shane O’Donnell getting three goals, that’s just something that happens.”

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