Cork’s Munster final defeat to Tipperary was a missed opportunity, laments Rebels captain Ian Maguire

Brian Barry

Cork footballer Ian Maguire discusses a mixed 2020 season for the Rebels, as they look to put the disappointment of the Munster final defeat to Tipperary, and the midfielder says the goal every year remains for the Lee-siders to win the All-Ireland title.

Cork senior football captain Ian Maguire has lamented 2020 as a ‘missed opportunity’ after his side’s shock Munster final defeat at the hands of Tipperary.

2020 was all going swimmingly from a Cork football perspective before the provincial decider.

After promotion from Division 3 and a shock Munster Championship semi-final win over Kerry, the Rebels looked on course for their first All-Ireland semi-final appearance since 2012.

However, they were stopped in their tracks by Tipperary, leading to a winter of regret.

“Since I’ve been involved with Cork football in 2014, every year is a missed opportunity when you’re not getting to the latter stages of competitions or winning competitions,” Maguire said.

“Regardless of what else happened in the year, Cork got knocked out in a Munster final. It was fourth year in a row we lost the Munster final. These are all missed opportunities. They all hurt.

“That loss to Tipp hurt and it was a missed opportunity.

“The beauty of sport is that you get to pick yourself up and go again but what’s probably a bit tougher with this lockdown is that I feel I haven’t had a chance to go back training or right the wrongs.

“When you’re doing your home workouts, it’s just not the same as training as a team, or cracking into the league or McGrath Cup like you would have in other years. You get to roll into the next championship or next league and we haven’t had that opportunity so this loss has probably been a bit tougher than other years.

“But we’re big boys. You just have to pick yourself up. You’ve got to learn the lessons and you’ve got to go again.”

The St Finbarr’s club man was keen to stress that complacency was not an issue after the victory over the Kingdom.

“The complacency element is something you’ll always consider when you beat a big team but because of Covid – we beat Kerry and while there may have been a few drinks or whatever in other years – that didn’t happen because of Covid,” he explained.

“You got dressed, you went home, it was a very different experience and I would have said that protected us against complacency because we were back training, back into a routine.”

He feels they were out-played by the Premier.

“My lasting recollection of that game is how many times did we turn the ball over on their 45, leaving a large amount of space in front of Quinlivan and Sweeney inside which is just easy to attack,” he noted.

“I think that’s where our main failing was. Can you put that down to tactics or down to players? We were far too careless with the ball. We weren’t quick enough with our transitions. There was a lot of things that we didn’t do that we should have done and I suppose Tipperary punished us as a good team would do.

“They have top class forwards and I think Quinlivan and Sweeney accounted for 12 of their 17 points. They were clinical in front of goals and they made us suffer for it.”

‘The goal is to win an All-Ireland’

Throughout the highs and lows since Maguire joined the county team in 201

“For me personally, and obviously representing Cork, the goal is to win an All-Ireland and I know people will probably laugh at that,” he said.

“This is probably something I’ve said since 2014 and it’s something that hasn’t changed. Ultimately, the goal for Cork football is to win an All-Ireland. I understand that there’s a foundation that needs to be put in place.

“I take it on a game-by-game basis but ultimately the goal is to get an All-Ireland and that should, and always will be, the goal if you’re a Cork footballer – getting to the top. How do you get to the top? I’m still in the process of figuring that out but ultimately, it’s a step-by-step basis

“I’m sick of chasing the top, I’d rather be at the top.”

‘A county board issue’

Meanwhile, Maguire was reluctant to comment on the sanctions handed to Cork GAA over the senior footballers’ gathering at Youghal Beach last month.

Rebels manager Ronan McCarthy has been hit with a 12-week suspension, while the Lee-siders will also lose home advantage for one of their National League games.

“These are sensitive times. Youghal and Ronan McCarthy’s suspension, these are all matters that need to be dealt with by the county board,” he said.

“I’m unable to comment on that. I know you might think this is a cop-out but that’s the mandate that we’re following at the moment.

“This is a county board issue that has to be dealt with so as a player we just can’t comment on it at the moment.

“It’s an ongoing process.”

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