Good times have rolled for Rebels sooner than expected, admits Deane
Former Cork hero Joe Deane was expecting the good times to roll again for the Rebels, but he says he didn't except to see them come so soon.
Deane could see that the talent was coming through the county's underage system but did not expect Kieran Kingston's men to slash and burn their way through the championship as they have this summer.
"I know there is an awful lot of work going on at underage level in Cork and I would be reasonably confident that over the next five, six or seven years that we would have been back and in with a shout of winning the senior All-Ireland again," Deane said ahead of the Rebels' All-Ireland semi-final clash with Waterford on Sunday.
"Did I think it would happen this year? Absolutely not, particularly with the manner in which we bowed out of the championship last year against Wexford. It was so disappointing, really poor performances in that.
"And when the draw was made last October and you saw you had All-Ireland champions Tipperary first out, who were fantastic All-Ireland champions. And if you won that you would have to play Waterford who came very close the last few years. And even then you had Clare or Limerick.
Blooded "So I couldn't see it happening this year. It's been great. Probably the new players that have come in have added to it. They have probably added a new player to every line, which has given everyone a lift."
Deane won three All-Ireland titles during his time with Cork, earning his first one under Jimmy Barry-Murphy back in 1999 when he blooded a host of new faces. And Deane admits he can see similarities.
"You can see parallels. We were coming off the back of successful minor and U-21 teams whereas this team haven't really. The nucleus of a very good team has been there for a few years. They got to an All-Ireland final in '13. Pat Horgan, Seamie (Harnedy) and Conor Lehane and those guys. Mark Ellis. Those guys were involved. We were just short a few and the new guys who came in have really stepped up to the mark and taken the whole country by surprise really with their level of maturity and the level of their performances so far.
"Mark Coleman in the half-back line has been particularly superb, (Darragh) Fitzgibbon in midfield. Coupled with that is the general form of a couple of other key players. Damian Cahalane has come on an awful lot at full-back. He has really settled into that role, which has tightened up the defence."
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