Yesterday was Cork’s first-ever All-Ireland final loss.
HUMBLE IN VICTORY, gracious in defeat.
It wasn’t to be for Cork. Yesterday was the 11-time champions’ first-ever All-Ireland final defeat. And the pain was fully evident after as Ephie Fitzgerald and his captain Ciara O’Sullivan faced the media afterwards.
Dublin on the other hand, could finally put the heartbreak of 2014, 2015 and 2016 decider defeats to bed as the final hooter sounded and they ran out five-point winners.
An intriguing and fiery battle between two great sides, but there could only be one winner.
“You lose an All-Ireland it’s going to be raw for a few days,” Fitzgerald conceded afterwards.
“I have the utmost respect for the Dublin girls, they’re a very nice bunch and in their defeats they took it very graciously. That’s what we have to do as well.
“We have to put our hands up and say Dublin were better than us on the day, they’re victorious and salute them. The better team won on the day and we have to acknowledge it.”
That said, he couldn’t have praised his side more.
“I think our girls couldn’t give any more today,” the Nemo Rangers club man added.
“We came up a little bit short and that’s just the reality of it. I’m so immensely proud of the girls I can’t really put it into words. I can’t say enough of times how proud I am of the girls and the performance. To see them running themselves to exhaustion was just inspiring really.
“I think they key today was Dublin got goals at vital times. That’s the way it goes. They have a very, very good forward line. They have experience. They’ve been on the go a long time.
“Hats off to them, congratulations to them. But we’re very disappointed that we weren’t able to do the job ourselves today.”
O’Sullivan echoed his words herself, the pain written all over her face as she was forced to dissect the loss in the post-match postmortem.
She noted how she and her side were disappointed that they opted to take the ball into the tackle in the first half, but praised their fight.
“It probably wasn’t in our game plan to do that and we were getting turned over,” the Mourneabbey star said.
“I think we did correct that a small bit at the start of the second half. A ball (cleared) off the goal line that Eimear Scally had, we’ve been on the other side of that a lot — we’ve come out with that bit of luck so we can’t have any complaints.
“Dublin are a fabulous team. They’ve been there for the last six or seven years and we’ve had great battles. We’re just disappointed that this time we came out on the wrong side of it.”
She added: “This is my 11th year playing. I don’t think we can progress any more.
“You just want to win when you go out. We fell short so as a year for us, it’s a disappointment. We didn’t win the All-Ireland and that’s what we had set out to do.
“We’ll regroup in January and we will go again. today.”
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