AFTER several years battling to claim the All-Ireland medal he craved, John Miskella looked to have suffered a setback on Thursday night when he was omitted from the official Cork team announcement.
Yet when the Cork team took to the field before throw-in, Miskella was in the starting 15 instead of the injured Graham Canty, and after the subsequent 70 minutes of whirlwind action, he had finally landed the ultimate honour.
Yet the speculation surrounding the make-up of the team had little impact on the Ballincollig man.
“I’d a fair idea during the week I’d be playing,” he laughed. “A lot of people were onto me when the team was announced. But I’m fairly experienced now and I just kept the head. It didn’t really bother me. Whether I played for one minute or 70, it really didn’t matter as long as we got the result.
“This is my fourth visit here for a final and I didn’t care how we won, as long as we did.”
Miskella was acutely aware that there would not be many more opportunities to land an All-Ireland. After several shattering experiences, finally experiencing that winning feeling was a massive relief.
“It’s relief. That’s really the main word. We put an awful lot of pressure on ourselves this week. We said we weren’t going to leave here without winning. Anything else was unacceptable. It was absolutely fantastic. I’ve been knocking around since 1998, so it’s really sweet finally to be in Croke Park and to get the All-Ireland as we did.
“I’ve had plenty setbacks. I had three years blanked out with injuries and came back to play in three finals in the last four years. For me, I was thinking before this game that if it isn’t going to happen this year, I mightn’t be here next year. The facts of the situation are I’m 33 next year and with work and family, there are a lot of commitments there. At least now I have a medal. People will say we played much better football last year and we did play some awful football this year. But it’s a results business. Who really cares how we played? We’ve got the medals now.”
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