Monday 11 November 2019

'Special' O'Neill refusing to get carried away by Kerry rout

Colm O'Neill, Cork
Colm O'Neill, Cork
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Colm O'Neill is inching back towards his very best form after a third cruciate ligament tear two years ago.

O'Neill returned to action more than 12 months ago but admits he has needed a 'winter' under his belt to feel his game is in the right place again.

The Ballyclough man hit 1-6 as Cork put Kerry to the sword in Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday, prompting his manager Brian Cuthbert to remark that he is "a very special player and a very special guy who just takes off every time he plays for Cork."

Having O'Neill 'right' makes Cork a much more formidable force, and his partnership with Brian Hurley again asked searching questions of Kerry.

"I'm happy. Last year I got a season under my belt. But this time last year I probably still wasn't 100pc," conceded O'Neill.

"I have trained hard, got a good winter's preparation under my belt and I have confidence in it now.

"I'm still doing rehab with physio so I'm keeping on top of it. I got a little bang on it in the first half and that's all part and parcel of it. It's a contact game. You're going to have hits and you're going to have knocks but you just have to get on with it."

O'Neill admitted there was little point in dwelling too much on the margin of victory over Kerry given how last year turned out.

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Reminds

"If anything it just reminds us of last year and a very similar type of game in Tralee and we need no reminding what happened come Championship," he said.

"We need no reminding of how we did last year. Similar to what happened, we beat Kerry comprehensively in Tralee and probably got a bit carried away with ourselves and started believing what people were saying."

O'Neill and Cork are back in Ulster for the third of their four league games in the province this weekend, this time against a resurgent Tyrone.

"It's great to get away and a great challenge to go up to every stronghold in Ulster," he said.

"There's always a huge crowd there and it's a great place to learn about your team and your panel.

"We would be happy but also disappointed that we didn't get a point last week against Donegal and we were happy with our performance in Monaghan."

Division 1 survival is not something on their mind as they press for the league semi-finals once again.

"You probably could say we're safe but we're not looking at safety. We want to make the latter stages of the league. We know the championship is a long way away and having some competitive games at that time prepares you well."

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