THERE was a smile on Cork coach Eamonn Ryan’s face at the final whistle in the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday, but it was short lived.
In beating Galway, his side must now face Kerry in the semi-final on August 29, who defeated them by nine points in the Munster final just a month ago.
“We were worried after that game, so we were hoping we’d put in a performance tonight.
“Some newspaper had said that the curtain was falling on us, so you’d just be wondering was it.
“But, in fairness to the girls, they got on with things and got the job done.
“We gave away a good lead and we should have been so far ahead at half-time that it should nearly have been over. But then when they were making a good go at coming back in the second-half, a lesser team would have folded, but we stuck at it,” said Ryan.
A number of substitutions were made in the second, with Ryan replacing his entire forward-line – bar captain Ciara O’Sullivan, who finished with 1-3 – but the changes didn’t upscuttle their attack.
“We had to make a few changes. That’s the way the game’s gone. You need 19 to 20 players now and it sounds like a cliché but that’s the reality of it. Especially up front when you’re trying to make scores and take scores, and then you’ve to also go and defend. So, it’s inevitable there’s a lot of work that goes on, so changes have to be made.”
In his pregame talk, Ryan had instilled in his players the importance of blocking, and in the closing quarter, they delivered when it mattered most.
“With 20 minutes to go, you would have put your money on Galway. They were playing very confidently and the crowd were with them, but we kept calm and did the right things.
“We might have done them arseways at times, but we got it done none-the-less.”
The Kingdom await now, and Ryan is already wary.
“The wind is in their sails so we that’s another challenge. Losing a Munster final can’t ever be good for you, but we’ve moved on. It was one of the most disappointing defeats that I can remember. It wasn’t the size of the loss, but the manner of it. We just capitulated, and you’d be hoping it doesn’t happen again.”
August 17, 2015