‘There wouldn’t be blood in your veins if you didn’t  appreciate that as hurling people’ - Dónal O’Mahony hails Páirc Uí Chaoimh atmosphere:

Cork selector Dónal O’Mahony admits he and his colleagues weren’t “overly happy” with their win over Waterford in the last Munster SHC round-robin game, but adds Cork did what they needed to do to get to this week’s Munster final.

Cork selector Dónal O’Mahony admits he and his colleagues weren’t “overly happy” with their win over Waterford in the last Munster SHC round-robin game, but adds Cork did what they needed to do to get to this week’s Munster final.

“There are learnings in everything. We were happy in certain aspects of our play and concerned about others.

“We weren’t overly happy with the performance against Waterford, even though they were difficult circumstances. It was a functional one.”

 

“We needed to win it and we did to get to the Munster final. John (Meyler, manager) is great at saying ‘that’s done and dusted, let’s move on to the next challenge’. That challenge is the Munster final. We need to apply the learnings from the first four games.”

O’Mahony says Cork are happy to have brought some new players into the senior squad: “At the start we were trying to develop a panel. And we’re happy we have unearthed a few new talents since last year, which was a challenge in itself as things went so well last year.

“It was difficult but we felt we’ve done that. I think you’ll always have a solid core and you’ll be inter-changing another four or five players. The fact we’re in a Munster final, hopefully it’s working.”

Cork have also worked on becoming tougher opponents. “We’ve worked an awful lot on that over the past three years. At times we felt we were easy to play against and when things got difficult we might fall away.

“In the four games in the round robin we encountered difficult situations towards the end of the matches and we’ve come from behind to win or draw. That builds strength and character and that’s something we place a lot of emphasis on.

“The challenge for us was that it went so well last year, as a new management we had to continue that on. The Cork public are expectant and I think that’s the way it should be.

“The fact we’re back in the Munster final after playing everyone in Munster is a good reflection of the lads we have. Our job as a management is to create an environment for the players that go over the white line to produce, and they have been producing.”

That in turn strengthens the link with supporters, he says.

“There’s a great bond with the hurling public in Cork. They’re supporting us in numbers and it’s a sell-out Sunday.

“Even the last day against Waterford when Seamus (Harnedy) got the goal the cheer that went up from the crowd was fantastic.”

“The players are very conscious of that. They were very conscious running out at Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the first home game. There’s a great bond and I think that comes down to the players giving performances in difficult situations and I think the crowd appreciate that.”

Cork have had the upper hand over Clare in recent years but O’Mahony says they’ve improved over the course of this season.

“You’d have to say Clare are the form team and they’ve got better and better after losing to us. I wasn’t surprised with the result in Ennis (against Limerick) because we’ve all gone up there and seen how difficult it is.

“Clare represent a big challenge for us. Psychology would tell you can only beat a team for so long. Clare will be using that to say they’re due a win against us. We’ve been consistent throughout the year, we’re concentrating on getting the best out of ourselves. If we get the best out of ourselves we’re a match for anyone. We can’t be worrying about Clare or this or that or the other thing.

“What we’ve changed a lot, going back to when Kieran (Kingston) was the manager, was focusing on the process rather than outcome. While we were losing games we were able to take positives. Tim O’Mahony came through, Eoin Cadogan was back, and that kept us going through the defeats.

“We felt with all our players available we’d be competitive come championship and that’s how it proved.”

The Bishopstown man also hopes Cork are becoming more consistent.

“One of the goals we set for the squad is that we want to become a ‘championship team’.

“What we meant by that is we didn’t want to get to a Munster final one year and then do nothing for the next four or five years. Hopefully we’re progressing in that regard.

“I know there’s expectation but we just have to be patient. There are a lot of young fellas there and to make the step up to senior level is massive.

“We’re trying to explain ‘you’re going to have bad games but we’re not going to throw you to the side, we’ll trust you and stick with you’.”

“You could see a bit of that in the U21 game (against Waterford) the likes of Darragh Fitzgibbon and Shane Kingston were after a tough six weeks, a lot of games.

“You just have to trust them because they are good enough but they’ll have dips in their form and come back again.”

O’Mahony’s enjoyed the round-robin games: “A special night for me was the Limerick game, 35,000 below in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, a great atmosphere, running out the tunnel, and the bond between the crowd and Cork team at the moment is fantastic.

“There wouldn’t be blood in your veins if you didn’t appreciate that as hurling people. In Cork, we love our hurling and the home games have had a fantastic atmosphere, now we’re heading to Thurles for a sell-out on the first Sunday in July. Where else would you want to be?”



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