Cork football star Patrick Kelly has paid tribute to Joanne O’Riordan, the inspirational Cork teenager who addressed the UN in New York last week.
Manager Conor Counihan name-checked her after Cork’s third successive league title on Sunday, earned at Mayo’s expense, and Kelly echoed Counihan’s words of praise.
“We have been all watching her during the week,” said Kelly.
“She’s a fantastic girl and we’ve all met her. She goes to most of our games and we’ve done a few things with her.
“To see a girl like that getting on and doing so well despite her limitations shows us how lucky we are and how privileged we are.
“Conor (Counihan) is always saying this to us — this isn’t pressure, pressure is not having a job, pressure is other things.
“Football is to be enjoyed and we should go out and express ourselves. That’s one of the core values he tries to instil in us. She’s at all our games in the Páirc and she’d always be on the pitch afterwards. We’d all be chatting with her and she’s one of our best fans. She’s an inspiration to us all. Hopefully she saw us win this and it will give her a good boost. She’s obviously aninspiration to a lot of people. We give out about small things in football and life, but she has huge challenges in her life and she’s so positive and carefree in her attitude.
Meanwhile, Cork dual star Eoin Cadogan was putting the celebrations on hold following the Rebels’ win over Mayo in Sunday’s NFL Division One final. Cadogan now faces a second league final in eight days, as he turns to the hurling decider on Sunday against Kilkenny.
“I won’t be going out celebrating,” said Cadogan. “Sunday’s over and done with, we got a win and it’s great and all that, but we’ve won league finals before. Last year we won it and we were forgotten about fairly soon afterwards when we were beaten by Mayo (in the championship).
“As far as I’m concerned, and the rest of the lads, it’s a win and it’s over and done with. I’ll just focus on the hurling now for next week — Kilkenny is going to be a massive battle as well. Two finals in two weeks, it’s a great place to be.”
Cadogan said conditions contributed to the physicality of Sunday’s clash: “It was physical but the weather conditions didn’t help either – there was a lot of ball going astray and a lot of fellas putting their bodies on the line, so there were always going to be more collisions and physicality. Overall we were delighted to get the win. We were getting caught with handpasses, balls bouncing in front of fellas were slipping away it was so wet — I don’t know about the wind, I wasn’t up front trying to kick points so I don’t know how that was but it looked fairly awkward.”
Cadogan and his fellow defenders felt they needed to improve on their performance in the opening half.
“We would have been disappointed in the first half, we conceded some soft frees. In the second half we squeezed them out a bit and turned them over in the tackle and did our job a bit better than we had in the first half. The lads out the field stopped the supply going in. Our job is to defend and as I said, we probably wouldn’t have been happy with how we did in the first half but in the second half we improved.”
“The frees we gave away in the first half probably put pressure on ourselves, we knew that before going out for the second half — we knew we had to pick it up. We had the wind, which was a slight help, and we moved the ball direct and fast into the forwards.”
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