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Larry Tompkins on Cork football | 'Beating Kerry was no miracle'

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

08:38 18 Nov 2020

Cork GAA legend Larry Tompkins joined OTB AM to discuss the state of Rebel football, and believes that rumours of their demise have been overstated.

Tompkins' new book 'Believe' is out now, and he believes that Cork have a decent shout of being in Croke Park for a showcase final in 2020.

Larry Tompkins on Cork

"It is going well for Cork at the moment, I think they have a lot of talent. I think you saw that against Kerry, their first big day, and they performed very, very well.

"This team is only improving - if they can get over Tipperary at the weekend then it'll be a good stepping stone to go into an All Ireland semi-final against Mayo.

"I think they are progressing and it would be a huge, huge year if they could get to an All Ireland final. If you do, it's only 70 minutes and nobody knows what will happen on the day.

"These are Cork lads that have no inferiority complex, they have the respect of teams and they believe in themselves. I was very impressed with their attitude the last day.

"I think it's onwards and upwards with Cork."

Favourites against Tipp

Tompkins believes that the situation will be different against Tipperary going into the match as favourites, and believes that the side that manages to keep their squad in best condition will triumph this year.

"I could never believe that Cork were being tipped to be going to Division 3. OK, it was a setback, [but] one thing that you have to admire about the management team was that they didn't listen to the negative talk.

"There were actions taken here in Cork to put in place a five-year plan. I think that in Cork there is such huge talent there that it was inevitable that people would get behind the bus."

Youth

Cork 8 November 2020; Mark Keane of Cork with team-mates following the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Cork and Kerry at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

It is partly a belief in youth that has allowed Cork football to regroup.

"What they have got is a good, committed squad with young, vibrant players that have come in from the minor and under-20 squads from last year and the year before.

"They have developed these players over the last two years to be in good condition physically and mentally.

"I think that if there was one thing that was lost in Cork before was that they let young players drift and didn't bring them in soon enough to develop them.

"When you see the huge talent that some young guys have at 18/19 years of age, it is important to bring them in for that year or two of development. After a couple of years they are really ready then for the fray.

"That is what you've seen from Cork now, they have really got their act together over the last couple of years. I don't think that Division 3 has in any way hindered them - they have got on a role there winning matches.

"When you look back at last year's Munster final against Kerry, that game went to the wire. It was no miracle that Cork beat Kerry; they were close and those players went out there and said: 'no longer are we going to be bridesmaids to Kerry.'

"I think that is what you are seeing now - players that have really got that confidence."

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