WITH A personal tally of 3-4, it was a good night for Castlehaven’s Michael Hurley as Cork saw off Tipperary in Mallow.
A 14-point victory secured Cork’s place in the final against Limerick this Saturday, January 11th. Hurley was pleased to get the new year off on the right foot, having not been involved in Ronan McCarthy’s side’s opening game against Kerry.
‘Yeah, I’m delighted,’ he said.
‘There’s no silverware handed out today, obviously, but, look, I’m happy to get a run-out. Matches beat training sessions so I’m delighted with that.
‘Ronan always says it that panels are made off competition. Watching the Kerry game, everyone playing today would have loved to have been involved then too.
‘There was a bit of pressure coming down here today, but that’s exactly what you want. That pressure showed out there, guys went out and put in a few good performances and there are a lot of places up for grabs.’
After a six-goal haul against an admittedly callow Kerry side, Cork again displayed an attacking ruthlessness, even with a totally changed side.
‘Again, that’s something that Ronan and Cian [O’Neill] have been mentioning over the past few weeks,’ Hurley said.
‘Even against Kerry, I know we scored six goals but we missed three or four more that could have gone in.
‘It was something that was mentioned before the game and practised in training and it’s good to see it come off on the field.’ Hurley, who finished college in IT Carlow in September and now works with SIG Ireland in Cork, feels that the addition of former Kildare manager O’Neill to the Cork backroom team has been a big coup.
‘It’s been huge,’ he said.
‘We all know the coaching experience he has had. Coming on from last year, we ended it on a positive note and seeing Cian come in was another huge boost.
‘He has brought it to a different level altogether but at the same time, we’re not getting too excited as it’s still only the first week in January.’
The Limerick game provides a bridge to the start of the Allianz Football League, with Cork beginning their Division 3 campaign with a home clash against Offaly on Saturday, January 25th.
Hurley is looking forward to the beginning of the league, though he knows that competition for places will be stiff.
‘Exactly, that’s the game we’re targeting now,’ he said.
‘We’ve a big league season ahead of us but we’re not looking any further than that first match.
‘We’re looking to the date against Offaly in Cork. We’re all fighting for a place but, at the end of the day, we’re here for the team.
‘If we wanted to play an individual sport, we’d be doing something else! Whoever’s named in the six forwards, we wish them the best of luck and whoever’s coming off the bench will look to an impact too.
‘Competition is brilliant, that’s what drives panels, so it’s all good.’