Cork manager Keith Ricken was thrilled with Cork’s performance as they won the Munster U20 final by beating Kerry 3-16 to 0-12.
“While I am delighted for them, I am not surprised. I felt there was a big game in them. When we took over at the start of February, I knew who I had. No one refused me. I’ve seen these fellas play Freshers football and play minor football.
“They talk about this generation being the snowflake generation, there is no snowflakes. These are very honourable guys. They work very hard.
“They are very committed, they are very loyal, they push each other. And yet, they are so courteous and so grateful for everything that is being done for them.
“It is a pleasure to deal with them. Sometimes you get a job and it is a hard job. But this is not a job. Yes, we will have harder days in front of us.
“We will have Tyrone on Saturday week and that will be a different game.
“But that doesn’t change anything about the character of these lads.”
Four points ahead at the break, the Leesiders piled on the pressure in the second half.
“We were up a couple of points the night we were down in Clonakilty as well in the John Kerins Tournament and Kerry came back at us to draw.
“That was in the back of the lads’ minds. But they made up their own minds. They were very calm inside in the dressing-room, we stated what we needed to do and we stuck to it.
“Kerry came back at us a few times but our tackling at the back was fantastic. It was responded in kind by the forwards. They worked hard, they got good scores. They were all hard-work scores.”
Ricken stressed the importance of the John Kerins Tournament.
“The John Kerins’s tournament was very important for a number of reasons. Foremost because it is John Kerins and John Kerins was one of my heroes growing up. I spoke to his wife Ann about it this year.
“He was a guard when we were growing up and we had the height of respect for him. He was a fantastic footballer. That was motivation for us.
“Then the fact we had four very competitive games which were under the stringent rules of the GAA.
“It focuses and sharpens the minds. The essence of it was very good and it was very important to us.”