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Rebels boss John Cleary wants back-to-back Division 2 league wins to build momentum

March 2nd, 2024 10:00 AM

By Kieran McCarthy

Cork senior football manager John Cleary.

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JOHN Cleary has urged his Cork team to string back-to-back league wins together to start building momentum.

The Rebels picked up their first points of their Allianz Football League Division 2 campaign with an away win (1-14 to 0-16) against Fermanagh last weekend, and manager Cleary wants to make it two victories in a row when Kildare visit SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday (3.30pm).

The struggling Lilywhites have lost all four league games this season and look ripe for picking, as Cork battle to dodge the drop to Division 3.

‘Whatever sport you play, momentum is everything,’ Cleary told The Southern Star.

‘The previous weekend against Cavan, everything was scrutinised, we were wrong in everything, and then this week we get over the line by a point and it masks some stuff. Whereas the previous weekend everything wasn’t wrong, last weekend everything wasn't right. It’s very fine margins here. A bit of luck, a referee’s decision, they can tip the scales for you.

‘We want to get the momentum; that will breed confidence, fellas will start to open their shoulders and play a bit better – that’s what we are hoping last weekend will give us, the chance to build something.’

Cleary acknowledges the importance of Cork’s away win against Fermanagh, thanks to Maurice Shanley’s injury-time goal, but knows too that they need to back that result up with another positive result this weekend. Cork are still in the Division 2 relegation zone, so need results to move to safety.

‘Time will tell the importance of winning in Fermanagh,’ Cleary said.

‘It had looked that we were going to rue missing a number of goal-scoring chances we didn’t take, so to get that goal at such a late stage was very important. We felt we could have got something from the Louth and Cavan games, but we didn’t. Our luck turned last Sunday, but it’s very fine margins in this division, the competition is very intense.’

The Cork boss is also wary of Kildare, despite their struggles leaving them rooted to the foot of the table after four successive losses.

‘On their day Kildare are a match for anyone,’ the Cork boss stressed.

‘Last year they could have beaten Dublin in Leinster, and on other days they weren’t at the races at all. They beat Roscommon in the All-Ireland series last year after Roscommon had drawn with Dublin; they are a bit of an enigma that way.

‘We are focussed on ourselves, make sure we have our own house in order so we can give a performance to back up what we did against Fermanagh. No sooner had we come down the road on Sunday night but the focus was on Kildare on Sunday – we want to turn up, play well and get another result.’

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