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Joanne's text lifted us: Counihan

CORK boss Conor Counihan has laughed off questions about the paltry Leeside army that cheered on their latest Allianz League success yesterday, declaring: "I'd hate to see it if we were unsuccessful!"

On a more serious note, Counihan said his players take inspiration from a small group of "important people" and name-checked Cork teenager Joanne O'Riordan - the Millstreet teenager born without limbs who addressed an international gathering at the United Nations last week.

"There are some people that inspire us - like, Joanne O'Riordan sent us a text before the game," the manager revealed after their top-flight triumph over Mayo.

"It doesn't matter if it's five or 50, we're doing it for those group of people and doing it for the team themselves. That's always been the way. That's life. I'd hate to see it if we were unsuccessful!" he concluded.

Counihan downplayed debate about the feisty nature of yesterday's final, offering the view that there wasn't any "exceptional niggle in it", but that hasn't stopped some heated reaction to some equally heated exchanges.

Cork half-back Noel O'Leary has attracted some trenchant Twitter criticism, reportedly from current and former inter-county players, for the first half flashpoint that saw him try to drag up a stricken Donal Vaughan by the jersey.

The Mayo defender was clearly injured: he had just been tripped by Pearse O'Neill (who was duly booked), a foul that propelled his head into an accidental collision with the arm of Eoin Cadogan.

Vaughan himself was subsequently on the receiving end of scathing criticism from RTé pundit Joe Brolly, for his theatrical reaction to being pushed around the neck area by Cork's Fintan Goold during another second half skirmish involving several players.

Brolly claimed on 'League Sunday' that Vaughan should be "absolutely humiliated by watching this tonight ... you'll never see it in hurling because they stand tall, and I was really very glad that Cork did what they did to them eventually, having seen that."

Meanwhile, Cork and Monaghan will contest the Bord Gáis Energy Ladies NFL Division 1 final on May 12 - a game that will be a repeat of last year's All-Ireland senior final.

Cork defeated Meath by 3-10 to 0-10 in yesterday's semi-final at Crettyard while Monaghan scored an impressive 2-9 to 0-7 victory over Dublin at the Gaelic Grounds, Drogheda.


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