Treaty progress no surprise to Cork, stresses Flahive

Kevin Flahive says he and his Cork teammates weren’t surprised when Limerick dumped Tipperary out of the championship.

Treaty progress no surprise to Cork, stresses Flahive

Kevin Flahive says he and his Cork teammates weren’t surprised when Limerick dumped Tipperary out of the championship. The Rebels host Limerick on Saturday, but it’s not a matter of changing all their plans because they expected to be meeting Tipperary.

“We played Limerick earlier in the year and they were a big, physical team. My last year U21, Limerick brought us right to the wire. They are a very good team, so when they beat Tipperary, it might have looked from the outside like a shock, but we know they’re a good team and we’ll be well prepared for them the next day.

"It was seven points in the end and if we beat Tipp by seven points, we’d be over the moon. We rate them highly. Before that weekend, you might have thought Clare would beat Waterford well, but they only won by a point. That’s a good Clare team, they beat us in the league.

“That’s football all the way; every team is fit, every team’s strong, and Limerick will be a very tough game.”

Flahive is familiar with the Limerick players from his Sigerson campaigns with UCC.

We had a Limerick player on the fresher team and a couple of years ago I was playing in America and there were a couple of Limerick lads there who were top notch.

"UL had a very good Sigerson team, too. They have some very good players, their midfielders are very strong, would give any midfield in the country trouble. We’ve trained hard and I think we’ve prepared well.”

Cork have trained well since the league, says Flahive.

“We have no excuses. After the league, we went back to the clubs and then it’s like another mini pre-season again. We’ve put in savage training — in the sun, thank God — and we’ve played challenge games. We’ve kept the intensity up.

“From our point of view, it was a disappointing league. The hope was to get promoted, and we got relegated, but that’s for next year. We parked that, the mood is good in the camp and we’re ready to go.”

The Douglas clubman had an enjoyable spring, given UCC’s success in the Sigerson Cup.

“It was fantastic,” says Flahive. “Obviously, last year we were unlucky in the Sigerson, but this year there was something special in the team. The Sigerson is a weird competition, where you don’t get to train as much, and I think it deserves more respect as a competition, in that it’s thrown into the middle of the league.

“Most of the players are inter-county players as well, so you can be playing on a Sunday, then on a Wednesday night, Sunday, Wednesday, so it’s very tough to train in between those, but personally it was a massive achievement, something I’ll cherish. And working with Billy [Morgan], he’s such a special manager and a special man.

"His passion is something you’d aspire to yourself. When I’m older if I still have that, I’ll be delighted, but I’ve always wanted to play for Cork, to play in the league is fantastic and the hope is now to push on and play for Cork this year. Last year’s championship was disappointing, we wouldn’t be happy with that. We have Limerick now and the hope then is that we’ll face Kerry.”

The Kingdom have had the upper hand at all levels in Munster for some years and Flahive acknowledges their quality.

“I’ve played with them [in UCC] and obviously Seanie [O’Shea] is a great player. If you asked them, I guarantee they’d say that 90% of the time their toughest game every year was Cork.

“It comes back a bit to the schools, and the Corn Uí Mhuirí, too. When I was in school I don’t think it got the respect it deserved, but it’s considered very highly in Kerry. If enough emphasis is put on the schools, it’ll help, from first year on. Playing against and marking different players helps to change your game. I found that in UCC and in schools games. Kerry have won a lot at Corn Uí Mhuirís in the last few years and that helps at minor level.

“They’ve won a good few Munster senior titles and our hope now is to get over Limerick and really have a crack off Kerry then. Hopefully, that seeps down the grades then. We’ve been competing all the way up.”

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