O'Leary: We want to prove doubters wrong and win title for our veterans
TEAK-TOUGH wing-back Noel O'Leary has revealed that Cork's footballers have twin motivations this year: to prove their detractors wrong and to do it for the team's most experienced players.
"We have been criticised an awful lot by a lot of the media," he said of the Rebels' harshest critics.
"There are guys saying that we are heartless and this and that, but we have put in some huge performances at Croke Park over the years and that (beating Dublin) rightly shoves it at them.
"There is fight in this team. If we thought it was gone (against Dublin) it would have gone, so there was belief there. To pull it out of the fire like we did does give us good confidence. We always believed there was a fighting spirit in this team and it showed."
The Cill na Martra defender revealed that last year's All-Ireland final loss to Kerry -- their second in three years -- left them with a feeling of unfinished business.
"Our goal at the start of the year was to make the All-Ireland final and atone for last year," he added. "The likes of Anthony (Lynch), Graham (Canty) and Quirky (goalkeeper Alan Quirke), these guys are well into their 30s and have given great service to Cork.
"We would be very conscious that, for them, winning an All-Ireland would be an unbelievable thing.
"Winning an All-Ireland is every man's dream and is why we play the game. But there is no point in getting carried away, we have a lot of work ahead of us still," O'Leary stressed. "Certainly there would be a lot of that we would be unhappy with (against Dublin).
"Our work rate was not up to scratch but the one thing we would be happy with was that we stuck in there and had great battling qualities to pull it out of the fire."