Vince Casey had heard the odds, but what could he do?
Dr Crokes were used to carrying the tag of favourites, but a stroll through the Kerry championship, where their average margin of victory was 15 points, had persuaded the bookies to make them 17/1 on yesterday.
It seemed excessive given the history between Cork and Kerry if nothing else and Castlehaven proved as much, even if their defensive set-up was interpreted by some as an exercise in damage limitation.
“As I say, we have no control over what bookies want to do,” said the Dr Crokes co-manager. “We knew it was going to be a tough test and the conditions with a wet ball — even though the pitch was fantastic — really brings things together as well.
“It is only when you get out of Kerry that you see what it is like. It was comfortable in Kerry. We weren’t asked many questions in Kerry this year but the lads showed great character today.”
Castlehaven manager Finbarr Santry said they had “rattled their cage”. They probably had, but Casey seemed confident Crokes would cope with the visitors no matter what they attempted.
“We never opened the gap that we had in Kerry but that is because you are playing against a higher quality opposition. The one good thing was that they were never able to get it down below three points. Any time they did get a score we responded.
“The goal put six in it and there was only going be one winner at that stage because we were holding our shape at the back and if they came out and opened up more we probably had the forward power to take the chances up there.”
For ’Haven it is defeat but one with honour and Santry spoke of the club’s U16, minor and U21 sides who have also been progressing deep into county competitions as proof that they can return to the provincial stage.
“We still went for it in the last 10 minutes and if we got that goal (from Tomas O’Leary’s shot) there would have been only two points in it and anything could have happened. Fair play to the Crokes. We wish them the best of luck.”
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