Sunday 22 April 2018

Eugene McGee: Rebels lose their inhibitions at last

Eugene McGee

Eugene McGee

Learning the hard way was brought to an art form yesterday. Cork, after half a dozen years of torturous failure in the closing stages of the All-Ireland championship, came out with all guns blazing at exactly the right time -- in the second half of the game -- to blast Down apart and snatch the Sam Maguire Cup.

At times in the first half, especially when they were behind by 0-7 to 0-2, it looked as if all the hang-ups, all the frustration and all the criticism of recent seasons was going to be added to, but in the second half Cork players at long last threw away their inhibitions, let the ball rip and outscored Down by 11 points to seven.

The dramatic nature of the final 10 minutes, when Down scored four points, ensured a very exciting finish for the fans but also gave Cork the chance to prove that they are no longer quitters. As against Dublin in the semi-final, it was Cork who delivered the knockout punches when the game had to be won and lost, something which added greatly to their status and makes them the worthiest of All-Ireland champions.

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