A proud Jimmy Barry-Murphy gave a glowing assessment of his Cork side following Saturday’s All-Ireland Hurling final replay in Croke Park and hailed winners Clare as a superb team.
Clare finally got the better of Cork by a 5-16 to 3-16 scoreline in another hugely entertaining meeting between the sides.
The two final clashes yielded a total of 106 points and thrilling hurling as Davy Fitzgerald’s men came out on top for a first All-Ireland title in 16 years.
Speaking to RTÉ afterwards, the magnanimous Cork manager congratulated Clare and paid tribute to the contributions of his panel.
He said: “I thanked the players for their efforts for the year. They have been fantastic for me and the management team and have done the county proud for the whole year. There is no disgrace in being beaten by Clare who are a superb team. I said to the players that we'll take our beating like men and move on and try to get back here if we can.
“I've got to acknowledge Clare, a superb team. They deserved their victory over both days and I can’t help but give great praise to them for the way they played and the kind of hurling they played was fantastic I thought.”
The Rebels rallied a number of times over the course of two games and rescued themselves from situations where it looked like the prospect of winning the Liam MacCarthy Cup had evaded them.
Having trailed from the first minute and recovered an eight-point deficit, the Munster Championship runners-up were eventually undone by the last of five goals from the Banner.
Barry-Murphy admitted his players left themselves too much to overcome: “Our lads did us proud, we were eight points down and got back to level it. Over the two days, when you're playing catch up both days, you eventually don't get away with that and they got some great scores when they needed them so great credit to them.
“When you're chasing a game as much as we were, one slip at that stage and it caves in on you and that is what happened today.
“The last goal rounded off from Clare's point of view, our lads fought to the last second and there is nothing more we could have asked for them. They were absolutely brilliant and I'm very, very proud of them. They are a credit to themselves.
“We've had some great occasions. We've lost the Munster final which is disappointing as well. But we had a couple of great days here beating Dublin and Kilkenny. It's hard road today for the lads. It is tough for them but we will take our defeat like men and move on.”