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  • Sport

JBM looking to make it third time lucky in the Pirc

Sunday, 13th July, 2014 12:15pm
JBM looking to make it third time lucky in the Pirc

BY NOEL HORGAN

IT was 1996, it was against Limerick, it was in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and it was Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s first time in charge of the Cork senior hurlers for a championship game.

It wasn’t one that the fledging Rebel boss will remember with any great fondness, however, as Cork were on the receiving end of a humiliating defeat from the Shannonsiders.

With no backdoor in operation at the time, it marked the end of the line as far as their championship aspirations were concerned.

It will be against Limerick again this Sunday, it will again be in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and it will be JBM’s last game in charge at the venue before a new stadium is constructed.

Needless to say, he is hoping for a different result this time, and he says he has mostly happy memories of his involvement in games there as a player

‘It’s a special venue, and I’ve always loved it, although I’ve never had a win in my two games there as a manager, against Limerick in 1996 and against Tipperary two years ago.’ JBM said.

‘I played my first game there against Kerry in the Munster football final in 1976 when there was pandemonium with people all around the touchline near the end.

‘The match finished in a draw, and we lost the replay which was also played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, but I’ve had a lot of good days there as well.

‘The 1985 Munster hurling final against Tipperary was perhaps my happiest memory, because I thought I played well myself and we won a great game, but I also had a lot of success with the Barrs in county finals in both hurling and football.

‘The view in Páirc Uí Chaoimh is second to none, and the playing surface is also the best in the country as far as I’m concerned.’

Advantage

He isn’t entirely convinced playing at home will be any real advantage to Cork, but he agrees it will be no load to the team either.

‘It might give us some sort of psychological edge, but I don’t think the ground will bother Limerick, and it certainly didn’t when they went to Thurles for their semi-final game with Tipp,’ JBM said.

‘We’d love to win it obviously, it would mean so much to our lads, because they are aware they’ve won nothing yet, and they all want to rectify that.’

Whereas Limerick have basically the same team as last year, Cork will parade a few new faces from the side that lost last year’s Munster final against the same opposition, and JBM is hoping the team and the panel has been strengthened over the past 12 months.

‘I do feel we have a stronger panel, and there is no doubt the new players who have come in have done very well for us,’ the Cork manager said.

‘We have five players starting who didn’t play last year, and that’s a big turnover in such a short space of time, but, while we have worked hard to strengthen the squad, only time will tell whether we have or not.’

JBM says he’s very pleased with the way the dual-player issue has worked out up to now, stating that it was never a big deal as far as he was concerned.

‘I think too much can be made of it, because you are talking about four or five games over the last six weeks, which isn’t a big deal in my book,’ he said.

‘These lads are exceptionally fit, the training we do is fantastic, and once they can do a bit of hurling with us, I wouldn’t be worried about them at all.

‘It’s a mental thing more than anything else, and there is no doubt these lads are mentally strong, they have shown they want to play both games, so I don’t see it as a problem for them.’

JBM says that his big worry for Sunday concerns Mark Ellis, who picked up an injury in the Clare game and is in a race against time to be fit to take his place at centre back.

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