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O'Sullivan hails Cork 'perseverance and calmness' as they hold off Kilkenny

Cork are back into the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship for the first time in eight years....

O'Sullivan hails Cork 'perseve...

O'Sullivan hails Cork 'perseverance and calmness' as they hold off Kilkenny

Cork are back into the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship for the first time in eight years. 

A five-point win over Kilkenny on Sunday saw them set up a date with reigning champions Limerick in the decider in a fortnight.

Speaking after the game which finished up 1-37 to 1-32 Cork selector Diarmuid O'Sullivan said their plan was simple.

"Our objective was to come up and try and qualify for an All-Ireland final, we knew it wasn't going to be easy but we're pleased with our performance, we're pleased with our win."

The game though was far from simple with Cork looking as though they had the win in normal time before a characteristic twist from Kilkenny.

Adrian Mullen found the back of the net with a lovely strike deep into injury time to level it up and send it to extra time.

Jack O'Connor then scored Cork's goal just before the break of the additional time and that was the turning point of the contest that they went on to win by five points.

O'Sullivan said the manner of how Cork didn't give up showed the strength of their character.

"We had gone six [points] up, they had gone six up, it was incredible from both sets of players.

"The effort, the commitment, the scoring, the physicality - everything you'd expect from a Cork and Kilkenny game was laid bare to everyone there over the last ninety minutes plus.

"They had their swing, we had our swing but I think great credit due to our lads,.

"That could have finished us that goal at the death, a lot of teams could come out and just crumble but I think we've been asking this team to be different and show character and I think we got different for the last 20 minutes."

A lot had been said before the game about Cork's fitness and speed versus Kilkenny's strength.

O'Sullivan felt their pace was crucial.

"We were definitely physically fitter.

"In the physical contest at times Kilkenny were stronger than us but look what was key for us was when the game opened up we moved the ball away as fast as we could and used our legs."

The impact of Cork's bench was also crucial in how the game went.

Shane Kingston came on and scored seven points while Alan Cadogan came of the bench with just over 20 minutes of normal time left to play and sent three points through the posts.

O'Sullivan said the competition for places is key.

"That's why we have subs, that's what we expect.

"We've 11 other guys at home who are very, very disappointed they didn't get an opportunity to come today.

" So look, it worked today, it's not necessarily going to work the next day."

Cork will now face Limerick on 22 August as they look to win the Liam MacCarthy Cup for the first time since 2005.

Many have said Cork are possibly the biggest threat to Limerick as they look to retain the title.

Their fast-running game could be a major problem for The Treaty.

O'Sullivan said they can't get caught up in such talk and can only focus on themselves and their game.

"The game was laid bare in front of everyone today on the second biggest day of the year.We're comfortable on the ball, we've comfortable runners with the ball, there's no hiding away from it, we can't hide what we have.

"We're delighted that it [Cork's pace] shone through. At times Kilkenny stifled us, they made it hard for our runners to break the tackles but we stuck with them.

"There was great perseverance and calmness about our lads when we found ourselves in them situations, so that was very pleasing.

"If you look back on everything over the last couple of days, in the last 24 hours, Limerick's name is etched in the trophy so we're coming up to make up the numbers.

"We'll go about our own business quietly."

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All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Cork GAA Diarmuid O'sullivan