Cork forward Daniel Kearney won’t deny a starting role made yesterday’s Munster success sweeter for him than last year.
The role at wing-forward is a new one for the Sarsfields man but he has thrived in it, helping to establish himself a place in the 15, which he couldn't manage in the 2017 Championship.
“You know what when you're out on the field and you're bursting a gut and you're putting stuff on the line, it's that bit more satisfying. Look I suppose the whole panel contributed to the victory. There was a few guys not made the panel, they're pushing the guys every day in training so hard.
“Everyone knows that and it's very much a group effort. From the backroom team to the best player, we have so just delighted now to be going into the All-Ireland semi-final with a lot of confidence and can't wait for the next four weeks.”
As he showed against Clare, Kearney has been able to slip into his old midfield berth for Cork but he is enjoying the wing-forward spot. "You know what, it was a new position for me this year. I've never really played it with the club either. I just tried to work as hard as I can, do my best and I did okay wing-forward, I can slot back into midfield so happy to just be on the pitch, to be honest.”
Cork were underdogs for much of their winning Munster campaign in 2017 but they have been fancied for much of this latest run, which presented challenges but ones they were able to meet. “We came up with a lot of pressure, a lot of expectation from where we came last year. We were probably a surprise package.
“We came into this Munster championship favourites for a lot of games. I suppose it's much easier to do when there's nothing expected of you. We showed real good character in the second half to absorb what Clare threw at us.”
Now for Croke Park and Kearney knows there’s an itch to scratch even if he felt they weren’t so bad in going down to Waterford in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final. “We felt in that game in Waterford we didn't do a whole lot wrong. Therewas a few key points that went against us in that game and we turned over for the goal and only for those I suppose big, big decisions, we could have been going into an All-Irelandfinal against Galway. We can't wait to go back up to Croke Park and just keep doing what we're doing.”