Ring: We must box clever when clock enters the red

Cork must keep their concentration when the clock enters the red at the end of this evening’s U20 final, manager Denis Ring has stressed.

Ring: We must box clever when clock enters the red

Cork must keep their concentration when the clock enters the red at the end of this evening’s U20 final, manager Denis Ring has stressed. As outlined elsewhere on these pages, Cork have endured their fair share of heartache at the hands of Tipperary when conceding additional-time goals both in last month’s provincial decider and the 2018 All-Ireland U21 final.

Showing greater levels of concentration and discipline, as well as going into “lockdown” mode if ahead approaching the finish, is central to Cork landing a first All-Ireland at this grade since 1998.

“We didn’t close out the Munster final, we didn’t close out the All-Ireland final last year. Maybe, it is just little things like concentration levels. Maybe, it is being clever,” remarked Cork boss Denis Ring.

“We closed out the Kilkenny semi-final quite well. That game could have gone on for another hour and we wouldn’t have been beaten, I felt. We were in lockdown. Maybe, we weren’t [in lockdown] in the last two years when we were in those scenarios. There is an element of luck involved in it too.”

Cork’s final preparations have included how they will set themselves up if fortunate enough to be ahead turning the bend for home.

“From our perspective, there is a particular shape you might go into if you are in a position where you are ahead and you have something to hang onto, as opposed to chasing the game.

We’ve looked at being more disciplined and concentrated in those last couple of minutes. I mention to the lads all the time about minding the ball, being intelligent when in possession and not giving it away irresponsibly.

“There is a thin line between being too negative in the last few minutes where you invite a team on to you, as opposed to keeping your shape and pushing on. It is getting that balance right. Concentration levels going into additional-time are massive.

“Equally so, if we are behind, in both instances we weren’t, there’s other aspects that come into your play — you don’t just go for glory, you must be patient. We’ve discussed that. We feel we have learned.

“This is our 14th game in three years. We’ve lost three and never lost by more than three points. From that perspective, we have been involved in a lot of tight games and have closed out a lot of tight games. It so happens the ones we didn’t were high profile.”

Ring added: “Jake Morris’s goal was critical in the Munster final but there were other parts of that game where you could say we lost the game. Very often, undue attention goes to the last play. An awful lot of what goes on earlier in the game are things you want to be improving so not to be in that position late on.”

Ring believes this Tipperary class is better than the side which edged Cork to last year’s All-Ireland U21 crown.

“They run from everywhere, they hit from everywhere. They present a particular challenge, I would say totally better than last year. In Tipperary circles, I know this group is far more highly-rated than last year. I can understand why.

“We are coming up against a team that has the stars that we supposedly had last year. The roles are 100% reversed.”

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