BY JOHNNY CAROLAN
IN AN era where the reluctance of Gaelic footballers to take on shots can raise the ire of supporters, Luke Connolly is different.
The Nemo Rangers and Cork attacker is never afraid to have a pop and, while things don’t always work out, sometimes there can be positive side-effects, like his attempted equaliser against Kerry last November.
Connolly feels that his positive approach helps him to shrug off the misses and take on the next effort.
‘I think that does stand to a player, if he’s able to stand up to it,’ he says.
‘Obviously, you’ll remember the Kerry game last year, where the debate was whether I was right to take the shot or not, obviously Mark Keane saved me in that sense!
‘It was something Ronan (McCarthy) alluded to recently, the justification came when we saw the Donegal and Derry game, where Derry were in a similar situation to us and spent three minutes trying to get the perfect shot and ended up without even taking a shot and the referee blowing the whistle.
‘It’s something that works against and for me – there are games where, if you’re looking at it in the stands, you’re saying that they should get me off or I should stop shooting but as a forward you want to score. A quote that they’re probably sick of me saying out here is that you don’t kick to miss.
‘It stands to you, but once the next one goes over. As a forward, you have to have a thick skin and you have to be confident, to back yourself in those situations.’
Having made his league debut in 2015, Connolly is one of the older stagers on the Cork panel and so has been subjected to more pain by Kerry than most of his team-mates. At the same time, it’s a Munster medal he is after rather than the glory of defeating the Kingdom.
‘I just want to win in a red jersey,’ he says, ‘it would mean the absolute world to bring the cup back to Cork.
‘It’s been an absolute privilege to wear the red jersey, I’ve loved every minute playing with Cork but there comes a time where you do want success or something to show for the amount of effort that this group has put in.
‘We’ll focus on it as a game and not get too wrapped up in it but it is a final and somebody has to win the cup. We’re not going to shy away from the fact that we want to win a Munster and bridge that gap that’s been there for quite a while.
‘I do think that we have a group that can do that but a lot has to go right for us.’