Ryan lauds his Cork All-Ireland winning U-20s
By John Fallon
Cork U-20 hurling manager Pat Ryan praised his men for the manner in which they blew Galway aside with a powerful display of hurling to retain their BGE All-Ireland U-20 crown with an impressive 4-19 to 2-14 in Thurles.
Rebel fans will be hoping it’s the first in a treble All-Ireland haul this week as Cork go for a clean sweep of minor, U-20 and senior for the first time since they managed it for the only time in 1970.
Cork, who changed back into their traditional red jerseys for the trophy presentation having worn white to avoid a colour clash at Semple Stadium, hope to have all three major hurling trophies in the bag by Sunday night as the Rebel revival hits top gear.
Cork had gone two decades until this summer without an underage All-Ireland but have now annexed two U-20 crowns in six weeks after they backed up their win over Dublin in the delayed 2020 decider last month with a superb display of powerful hurling in Thurles last night.
“They are a great bunch of lads. it was similar enough to the final against Dublin,” said Ryan. “We came out of the traps very quickly and we set ourselves up for that in training, we went for the jugular straight from the start. We were 1-04 to 0-0 up against Dublin a few weeks ago and we did the same again tonight, against opposition as good as Galway we needed a good start.”
Man of the match Padraig Power led the way with a haul of 1-5 from play and the Blarney clubman also set up several other scores for a free-flowing attack.
“Padraig has had an incredible campaign for us. He showed leadership again tonight. I was saying after the Munster final how we pick players based on character. We had a battle below in Páirc Ui Chaoimh in the Munster final when Limerick came back at us, the same again when Galway came back the characters stood up.
“Our fellas showed great heart and character and that is the most pleasing aspect. We again finished exceptionally strong and our bench was very good again.
“We’ve really focused on quality off the bench, after the Munster final I’d say Ben (Cunningham) was good enough to start. He was superb coming off the bench tonight, as was Luke (Horgan). It’s a 35-man squad and all 35 contributed to this one,” added Ryan.
Both camps had to deal with Covid outbreaks in the build-up to the delayed final and Ryan praised his charges for the way they dealt with that.
“We’ve been trying to get across to the lads all the times about life skills. They’ve been talking for the last 18 months about how life can throw difficult things and situations at you but it’s how you deal with them.
“We didn’t look for excuses, we didn’t give out about anything, we just dealt with them and we drove on. I think we got verification on that after winning another All-Ireland final,” added Ryan.