O’Brien lost Cork defender Alan Cronin to a hamstring injury in yesterday’s Munster Club SFC semi-final win over Killarney Legion, making him a doubt for the provincial final in two weeks. But O’Brien insisted that injury absentees will not affect his battle-hardened squad at this stage, insisting: “They’re made of strong stuff.” He explained: “I don’t know are we getting better, but this time of the year it’s all about results. Any battle we’ve been involved in this season, we’ve come out the right side of them.
“We have two or three more injuries out of today, but we are dealing with this all year. “Every time a big player is out and a less well-known player comes in, it doesn’t make a difference to them. They’ve been knocked all year, and they’re giving the answers every time. We have full trust in them, they have trained with us all year, they know what’s expected.”
Legion manager Peter Keane rated the Cork champions as a “good, tough Championship team”. He said: “Nemo played a lot of keep ball, but we played it into their hands to some degree.
“We spilled a lot of ball, and got caught three times for lack of discipline where Nemo frees were brought forward. It’s a learning curve. In time we might come back here again and have a better shot off it.”
Keane admitted this Munster semi-final was a secondary target to next Sunday’s Kerry SFC final replay against South Kerry, but felt such a tough 60 minutes should benefit them.
“Next Sunday will be a different game. Nemo came out and play more ball than South Kerry. Nemo had one sweeper, where South Kerry are playing more of them. Had we not been here today we’d still have been playing (Austin) Stacks in the Co League, so we had a game either way. You want to be playing at the business end of the season.”