Paul Kerrigan: ‘Next one is always the most important one’ for Nemo

Paul Kerrigan uses his fingers to count out the number of Cork senior finals he’s been involved in.

Paul Kerrigan: ‘Next one is always the most important one’ for Nemo

Paul Kerrigan uses his fingers to count out the number of Cork senior finals he’s been involved in.

Including two replays, says the 32-year old, Sunday will be his 11th county decider.

Having joined the Nemo senior set-up as a 17-year old back in 2004, Kerrigan quickly became accustomed to county final afternoon, as the club secured a four-in-a-row between 2005-08.

He doesn’t need to be told how fortunate he has been, particularly when the final whistle has so rarely been greeted by disappointment and regret. One county final defeat from 10 appearances is a return most can only dream of. This weekend, he will seek to pocket his eighth county medal. And you certainly couldn’t accuse him of having been a passenger in any of the previous seven.

He was first sub in, after just 25 minutes, and among the scorers during his maiden final win 14 years ago. He again came off the bench and found the target in 2006. Of the remaining five, he’s been Nemo’s top scorer in each, starting and finishing all bar 2008.

“I make sure I tell the young fellas how fortunate we have been because you just don’t know when they could be gone,” Kerrigan begins.

“There is a saying in the club the next one is always the most important one.

Sunday is the most important one now, it is the most important title we can win.”

However, Kerrigan confesses he’ll be as nervous this Sunday as he was for his first final.

“I would get very nervous before games. I know what is coming [on Sunday] but those butterflies don’t go away. I get as nervous as ever, even more so as I’m getting older. I see it as a good sign, though. I know that it still means a lot to me and it’ll keep me on my toes.

The nerves are just part of the way I am. I suppose there is an element too of the expectation you put on yourself to perform and, hopefully, set an example for fellas.

No question but he led by example during the semi-final annihilation of Douglas. He began and finished the move which ended with their first goal, also supplying their third green flag early in the second-half.

In between, he was to be found standing in his own square fielding a half-blocked Sean Powter point attempt. He enjoys the variances associated with modern-day football.

“Everyone attacks, everyone defends. Everyone here participates in the shooting drill, but everyone also has to defend in the tackling drills. I’ve been in that position a few times this year with Cork so I am safe enough in the square. We are under no illusions as to the way football has gone and when the occasion demands for you to get your body behind the ball. I like it, to be honest.

“I like coming onto the ball just as much as receiving it above in the attack. You probably have great scope to pass when coming onto the ball around your own half-back line or midfield, you can survey what is in front of you. I’ve a good relationship with Micheál [Aodh Martin] in goal. Whenever I get back there, he tells me what to do.”

Even though they had 14 points to spare over Douglas, the players were demanding more of each other as immediately as their post-match warm down. “We were well beaten by Castlehaven in the quarter-final last year but there wasn’t a bad word said about any fella behind his back.

“There wouldn’t be anything like that in our group which is a very good sign. Similarly, it is a good place to be in that you can demand a little more from each other after a win. There is a good vibe in our group.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.