RUAIRI Deane is adamant that the Cork footballers will turn the corner at some stage – but he admits he doesn’t know when that will be.
Relegation to Division 3 of the national football league is a new low for Cork football and Deane doesn’t hide away from how disappointing their demotion is, but he stresses it’s important that this group doesn’t allow itself to be weighed down by constant negatives.
‘People are complaining about what’s going wrong – but what is that actually going to fix?’ Deane says.
‘We can all row in and buy into something and maybe that will help find a solution.
‘Everyone is entitled to their opinion. If an opinion is just negative, what is that going to change? That’s a question I ask myself if I am going through a tough time. I’ll ask myself what is this attitude going to change? It will change nothing. You have to keep positive and drive forward.
‘Look, people can come out and support us if they want, but negativity isn’t going to affect what we are going to do on and off the pitch.’
Deane does feel that Cork’s fortunes will turn and has seen encouraging signs at times during the league, but Ronan McCarthy’s side has not been consistent enough. More times than not they look like a team lacking in confidence.
‘Some people have said that to me on numerous occasions, that we look like a team with no confidence,’ the Bantry Blues man says.
‘We went out and played against Donegal with huge levels of confidence in the first half. We should have performed better in the second half. We know that. But there is a lot more in this group. We can play better. It is within the group. Will it take one big result? I don’t know. Will it just come out with time and performances and experience for lads? Potentially. We will just wait and see.’
Deane admits it was a weird sensation after the win against Armagh on Sunday. They won the game but Clare’s victory in Thurles over Tipperary relegated the Rebels. That Cork won away in a match they needed to win is a positive to take but the bad moments have outweighed the good in recent seasons.
Still, Deane’s not going to throw in the towel. Either are his team-mates, he says.
‘We have to keep chipping away. Things don’t change overnight but it’s not as if we’re not working towards where we need to go,’ Deane says.
‘There are difficult days but we will dust ourselves off and keep working hard. People are entitled to their opinions. They can say what they want. But at the end of the day we are the lads out there, we are trying our best and we will continue to do that.’
Deane adds: ‘There is 100 per cent character in this team. I know that. I see it week in and week out. Sometimes it comes out on the pitch. Other times it doesn’t come out for long enough. We showed against Donegal what we are capable of but just towards the end we made a few silly mistakes, they get a few scores and that doesn’t reflect how that game went for us.
‘There is huge potential in this group. It will come right at some stage and we are working towards that.’
While Division 3 football awaits in 2020, Deane points out that the championship is what matters now because that’s what Cork can impact. They play either Tipperary or Limerick in a Munster SFC semi-final on June 1st.
‘It’s not as if we are going to park the league, we are going to review it. We will look at the ups and the downs, take the positives and work on the negatives. It’s not a case of “let’s forget about the league and leave it there”. We will have a review of it and it’s something we need to do to help us go forward towards the championship,’ says Deane who feels that opening weekend draw away to Fermanagh is a result that cost them. The home side equalised with a free brought forward in the fifth minute of injury time in a game where Deane saw red for two yellows.
‘Look at the Fermanagh game. We were one point up and down to 14 men with one minute left. We didn’t see out that game. If we started with a win against a team that proved to be difficult in Division 2, it could have been a completely different league. That one moment for me is something that could have changed it. There is no point now in dwelling on it, we have to move on and we need to focus on the 2019 championship because we can have an impact on that.’