Category: Archive

Fortunate Cork deprive Limerick, title wait extends into 114th year

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Because if Cork were fast, physical and formidable against the Kingdom, they plumbed the depths at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. This wasn’t a Cork team looking ahead confidently to the rest of the summer, this was a Cork team which knew it was incredibly fortunate to have annexed back-to-back titles for the first time since 1995.
“We were extremely lucky,” admitted manager Conor Counihan after the one-point win. “The media were putting us up on a pedestal after beating Kerry, but I said we weren’t that good, and I also said that Kerry weren’t that great. So, this had a lot to do with Limerick’s performance.”
There was a period of fully 35 minutes either side of half-time during which Cork failed to raise a flag. They trailed by 1-2 to 0-8 at the break – Donncha O’Connor scored the goal from a highly dubious penalty award – and appeared to be in big trouble when the impressive Daniel Goulding struck for a second goal on 53 minutes.
Goulding powerful shot, after Graham Canty’s high ball and sub Colm O’Neill’s clever touch, made all the difference. Perhaps sensing their opportunity had passed, Limerick didn’t look like upsetting the odds after that as the Cork defense saw the game out.
For the losers, it was yet another reminder that the wait for a football title has now gone on for 113 years. As recently as 2004 they took Kerry to a replay, and only last year they were hit by two late Cork goals – the agony continues.
“To tell you the truth, 113 years doesn’t bother me,” said midfielder, John Galvin who was playing in his third losing Munster final in a row. “All I know is I’m playing 11 years and I haven’t won one. I’ve had enough of it. We’ve been a nearly team for years. The problem with nearly teams is if they don’t make it, they die a year or two later. Look at Fermanagh, Wexford, all them. You need to win something to keep up the spirit.”
Even though Goulding appeared to have lost control of the ball before he clashed with Shane Gallagher, referee Rory Hickey of Clare awarded Cork a penalty in the 14th minute which O’Connor converted. According to Limerick coach, Mickey Ned O’Sullivan, that was the “one regret” he would harbor from the day. But with corner-back Johnny McCarthy, Stephen Lavin and Mark O’Riordan doing particularly well at the back, the underdogs were good value for their three-point interval lead.
“The players are devastated, but they’ll bounce back,” said O’Sullivan. “The big thing is that very few people had seen Limerick play this year and they were stereotyping. All they had to do was come and watch us and they would’ve know that we’re well coached, well prepared, and we have some fine footballers. I know our lads gave it every last ounce in their preparation and I was very proud of them.”
Cork become the first team to make it through to this year’s All Ireland quarter-finals while Limerick will go into the draw for the fourth round of the qualifiers at the end of the month.

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