Tommy Walsh on Cork: They played fast, crisp hurling and they deserved it

He also reveals his pick for the All-Ireland Championship this year

BY Simon Maguire 18:32 Monday 10 July 2017, 18:32 10 Jul 2017

Clare's David Reidy and Darragh Fitzgibbon of Cork. Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Cork beat Clare to claim the Munster Hurling Championship on Sunday after a pulsating match at Semple Stadium in Thurles.

Kilkenny legend Tommy Walsh covered the game for Off the Ball alongside Oisin Langan, and speaking afterwards, he said: "They deserved it because they played hurling. The way you win your own ball, you play it into the corners - fast, crisp hurling.

"You take your chances when they came. Like, as we said, hurling's a funny game. You get a goal and suddenly you're back into the game. 

"Like the game was over with a few minutes to go. Suddenly we get the goal and it's a three point game. But, after Clare got the goal, Tony Kelly got the next point and it was an inspirational point. But what did Cork hurlers do? We questioned at the start of the year, their consistency.

"So suddenly all the doubts creep back into your mind - what did the lads do? They stayed hurling, they stayed hurling. They got a point or two and suddenly they were three or four ahead again. 

"Great scenes here in Thurles. The Cork supporters were here from early this morning and they're absolutely over the moon.


Cork manager Kieran Kingston speaks to his players after the match. Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Reflecting on Cork's turnaround since last season, Walsh noted: "One of the most important results in Kieran Kingston's career was that match against Tipperary last year when they played the sweeper. Because, at least then, they had no questions.

"They weren't asking themselves 'what if we tried the sweeper? What if we did it a bit different?' - they knew it didn't work and they got absolutely overhauled that day so he had no other choice. Plus, he's great friends with Jimmy Barry Murphy who I think was a selector with him there for a few years. 

"When Jimmy came in in 1999, what Jimmy Barry Murphy said was 'if we go down, we're going to go down with hurlers.' What did they do? They went on and won the All-Ireland. Kieran Kingston I feel went with that motto: 'If I'm going to go down, I'm going down with hurlers playing it the Cork way!'

"And look at the Cork team today, we all spoke about Conor Lehane and how dependent they might be or feel on Conor Lehane after his previous performances. He was quiet enough today but won a few vital balls, got a great point and it's when your quiet players like that are still doing vital things - that's when you have a real team and a real chance of victory."

You can hear Tommy Walsh's full post-match comments here:

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