Cork star, Daniel Kearney, has admitted that he shouldn’t have returned to the field in extra-time of their All Ireland semi-final loss to Limerick in August after being removed during the game.
The wing-forward was replaced by Mark Ellis in the 60th minute after being withdrawn as a result of cramping but was asked to return to play for extra-time. Speaking at the Aer Lingus launch of the Fenway Hurling Classic jerseys, Kearney admitted that he wasn’t in any physical or mental shape to continue playing.
“It was actually cramp, cramp in my calves. I was probably mentally checked out. For the last ten minutes I was in the dressing-room, just lying down in the shower, it’s too hard to watch it. To hear then it was a draw, your mind, there’s a lot going on. Extra-time can be a tough mental to prepare for because you’re unwinding towards the end of the game and mentally and physically I was probably not in the best shape going into extra-time. I tried to give it everything but it just wasn’t enough.”
“I suppose I probably I should have put my hand up and said I’m not able to come back on, you’ve to bring someone else back on. But it’s very hard when they’re asking you in an All-Ireland semi-final to come back on, to say no. There definitely is a learning in that for me.”
While many Cork fans will dwell on 2018 as a disappointment, having come so close to a place in the All Ireland final, Kearney believes that the team cannot hinge success solely on silverware.
“I suppose sport is a funny one. I don’t think you can look at it with one lens, if you win the All-Ireland that’s the barometer of success because everyone would have failed if that’s your barometer. So I suppose while it’s the ultimate goal to win, it’s important as well to say that it wasn’t a total failure because we didn’t win.”
“We won a Munster championship again which was the most competitive that it’s nearly ever been. To go out the right side of that and show consistency to do back-to-back was brilliant and it gave us a lot of confidence going in against Limerick in the All-Ireland semi-final. The performance was there and the ability is there but it’s just to close it out and that’s the disappointing thing. We know we have the ability and skills to do it but we just kind of fell short. That’s the disappointing thing.”
Cork were leading by seven points during the late stages of the game but shrew substitutions and clinical finishing allowed Limerick to level. But just as they did, Cork captain Seamus Harnedy had a chance to win the game with a shot on goal. What transpired, however, was one of the greatest and most crucial interceptions a goalkeeper has ever made from Nickie Quaid.
Kearney insists the team will not dwell on what could have been and instead use the game as a learning experience for next year.
“That’s the fine margins. While even for all that 10 minutes we played poor, the opportunity came to even win it at that stage. An inch of a hurley from having the best year ever or potentially going into the All-Ireland. So it’s all fine margins and I think it’s very important not to over-analyse or get too down or dwell too much on defeats.”
Clare’s Podge Collins, Cork’s Daniel Kearney, Limerick’s Tom Morrissey and Wexford’s Conor McDonald were at the Aer Lingus Hangar 6 at Dublin Airport this morning where Aer Lingus, in partnership with the GAA and GPA, unveiled a one-of-a-kind customised playing kit for the Fenway Hurling Classic which takes place at Fenway Park in Boston on November 18th. Aer Lingus will once again be the Official Airline of the event and will be responsible for flying the four teams to Boston.