Ronan McCarthy: 'The better team beat us'
By John Harrington
Cork manager, Ronan McCarthy, admitted the better team had won after his side fell to an inspired Tipperary in today’s Munster SFC Final.
The Rebels never produced anything like the quality that saw them defeat Kerry in the semi-final, and McCarthy gave Tipperary the credit they deserved for not allowing them to.
“We didn't perform well enough and the better team beat us on the day, simple as,” said McCarthy.
“We never got to the pitch of the game. They obviously came out of the traps very quickly but even at 0-6 to 0-5, I think we went ahead briefly there, but even at that and the times when we had a lot of possession of the ball, our decision making was poor, we rushed our offence, which we didn't do against Kerry.
“Just overall, whether we weren't quite at the pitch of it or they didn't let us, we never got a real stranglehold in the game and fair play to Tipp for that.”
The Cork manager didn’t get any sense in the training coming up to the Munster Final that his team would deliver such a flat performance.
“I would say the opposite. To be fair to that group of players, they came in and they got back down to it very quickly.
“What I would say is, it is very hard to...you invest so much physically and mentally into making a breakthrough like we did. It is hard to raise yourself again.
“From the point of view of preparation, spot on from the players and we felt we were in a good place. I said in my RTE interview before the game, people kinda get very carried away. Before the Kerry game, we had no chance.
“Before this game, we had every chance, by all accounts and actually, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
“If you look at the games we have played against them, even go back to the league game in February, I think we got three goals in that match and got 21 points. They caused us plenty of trouble in that game. We had to play today to win that game and we didn't play well enough.”
McCarthy didn’t agree with the suggestion that this group of Cork players are inconsistent and unreliable.
“I think it is unfair to that group of players,” he said. “I think people have to acknowledge that it is so difficult to raise yourself, you have invested so much in the game against Kerry, mentally, physically and every other way.
“It is hard to raise yourself so it wasn't that they didn't try to do it, they have worked well over the last couple of weeks, but it is hard. You take an umbrella view and you say the team is going in the right trajectory. Today is a setback. It would have given you a trophy. On the other side, Cork have won six Munster titles in 24 years.
“The big opportunity lost from my point of view and the development of the team is to get to Croke Park, is to play top four teams.
“I want that team up there as often as we can get them up there and we've certainly missed an opportunity today to do that which would have helped the development of the team. But there is a bigger question there to Cork football - are we happy to be winning one Munster championship every four or five years?
“Whether we won today or not, that question is still there. We have got to be better than one every five or six years with a last minute goal. Surely we are more ambitious than that here.”