IT’S BEEN THE most unusual of hurling championships this summer and it’s set to end in a most unusual manner: on a Saturday evening.
The GAA announced to those filing out of Croke Park on Sunday that the All-Ireland SHC final would be replayed on 28 September. And yesterday, Croke Park chiefs pencilled it in for a 5pm throw-in.
“It is very unusual,” agreed Rebels boss, Jimmy Barry-Murphy at the team hotel in Dublin yesterday.
“I would have preferred a Sunday personally. An All-Ireland final should be on a Sunday but that is another decision that has been taken that we have no control over. These things are nothing to do with me, when a match is fixed as far as I am concerned you get on with it.
“We are going for a recovery session this morning, a pool session and then we will take a break for a couple of days and regroup after the weekend and start the whole process again.”
‘Unusual’ was again the adjective Barry-Murphy reached for when asked for the atmosphere amongst the Cork panel on Sunday night in the wake of the draw with Clare.
“People were all in good form,” the St Finbarr’s clubman added. “There was a general feeling that we could have played better overall, that we could have got into our stride earlier. That is the main thing but it is a case of trying to regroup now and trying to find out what went wrong yesterday. But there are plenty of positives as well from our point of view, there was great passion and great spirit I thought. We hung in there there and we needed to.”
Supporters of both counties may have felt that their side left a title after them. A point up in garbage time, does JBM look at it like the one that got away?
“I wouldn’t say it is gone from us at all. We didn’t play well [on Sunday] in general, we were chasing the game from the start and we did not get into our stride as quickly as Clare. From that point of view, I certainly don’t think it is lost, it is there to be won the next day. There is plenty of time to regroup and that is what we are going to do,” he says.
Asked if he felt wronged by the referee’s time-keeping in the dramatic finale to the contest, Barry-Murphy said: “I am not going to start carping now about that because as I said a couple of decisions went our way that could have gone the other way and I think it is bad grace now to moan about that. Referees in general tend to give a team one chance if they are a point down, don’t they, and that is what happened yesterday.
The Cork boss went on: “We have to look now and see where we can strengthen, but as I said we did not play as well as we would have liked. But that is finals, they take on a life of their own. There are days when it doesn’t happen for you. It was a great game and our players played with fantastic spirit and they had to hang in there and they hung in there tough. I was very, very proud of that, I would have to say.”
Originally published 07.30