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Billy Morgan pictured at the launch of the AIB Club Players Awards.

Billy Morgan pictured at the launch of the AIB Club Players Awards.

Billy Morgan believes Cork can compete

By Cian O’Connell

Following a lifetime of service with Nemo Rangers, UCC, and Cork Billy Morgan remains optimistic.

Potential exists in Cork and Morgan believes that Ronan McCarthy’s team can enjoy a productive summer in the Championship.

A mixed Allianz Football League campaign saw Cork win three games and lose four, but there were mitigating circumstances according to the highly respected Morgan.

“I think what people don't realise is that Cork were missing a lot of players for the League campaign,” Morgan says.

“They were missing the Nemo contingent and I think four of them would be possibly on the team. You had Sean Powter, James Loughrey, Aidan Walsh all out through injury and in the last couple of games Sean White, who is coming through and he will be a very good player, and Ruairi Deane were also missing.

“That is nine players, a big take out of any team. If everybody is fit I would hope that come the Championship that Cork can compete with anybody.”

Having been in charge of UCC’s Sigerson Cup outfit in recent years, Morgan is well placed to assess how youngsters are progressing down south. It is a role Morgan relishes. “I thoroughly enjoy it because it is a nice short season,” Morgan admits.

“It is over in February - January and February is intense that is all. I've had the good fortune to work with a lot of very good players from different counties, I really enjoy it.

“This year I was disappointed because we had a very good team, I thought we would be there or thereabouts at the end, but unfortunately against NUIG we were missing six top players.”

A classy Corofin team comprehensively defeated Nemo Rangers, a club Morgan served with distinction throughout the decades. Morgan was a keen observer on St Patrick’s Day. “We were very disappointed, on the day we couldn't do a thing right, but against that Corofin were very good,” Morgan replies.

“They had set themselves up very well, I thought, their movement and passing was outstanding. The second goal they got was as good a goal as I've seen, if Barcelona scored a goal with that movement people would be singing from the high heavens. They were outstanding.”

Despite the Croke Park loss, Morgan acknowledges it was a great journey, especially for a new generation of Nemo footballers. “If you told us at the start of last year that we would win a Cork County title, a Munster title, and go to an All Ireland Final we would have bitten your hand off,” Morgan adds.

“In hindsight, when the dust has settled sort of, it was a good campaign, a good year and the fellas are chomping at the bit to get back there. They are playing the first round of the Cork County Championship on Saturday, it gives them an incentive to get back there again.”

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