Barry-Murphy: 'We were always chasing the game'
JIMMY BARRY-MURPHY walked into last night's post-match press conference bearing a dignified smile and a knowing grimace.
"Our luck ran out," he said.
"Both today and the last time we were chasing the game. The gap was too wide tonight. Eight points. Our lads showed fantastic character to keep on fighting back but we never pushed on when we brought the game back to level terms. And that killed us."
The questions kept coming but JBM mostly reverted to the same answer.
"Just ran out of steam," he said. "The lads invested so much into getting back into the game that when we did catch up we needed everything to be perfect. And we made one or two little mistakes. But I'm so proud of the lads. I know it's a cliché but they have been fantastic all year. So too have the supporters.
"I'd just have to acknowledge that we were beaten by the better team in the end. We ran out of luck, but it wasn't for the want of trying."
The Cork boss elaborated by revealing that they had worked hard on targeting certain Clare players and dealing with a puck-out strategy to stop the Clare half-backs launching attack after attack.
The plan worked to an extent. Podge Collins, the Banner's dangerman, was largely held quiet and the Clare half-backs didn't exert the same influence as in the drawn game.
But they couldn't have factored in Shane O'Donnell's three goals.
"We heard today that he was playing and we know he is a very good player; he scored a goal against us in the league and we were aware of him but when a man scores three goals in an All-Ireland final ...
"In fairness, the quality of ball into him was superb and it hurt us.
"If we had taken our chances then maybe it would be a different story but I can't fault anyone. Ours subs were great too but the quality of ball coming into their full-forward line caused us huge problems.
"But we'll get over this like men and move on."
Barry-Murphy performed wonders in getting this team to an All-Ireland final in the first place. He has created a young band of pacy, mobile hurlers who will be itching to get back to this juncture again.
"They have done everything we asked of them," he said. "If we had started a little better on either day then maybe it would have been a different scenario but that's easy to say with hindsight," he added.
"They gave us everything and they played some quality hurling along the way. I couldn't have asked for anymore."