GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Tipperary captain Conor Sweeney says they wanted it more than Cork
Conor Sweeney was Tipperary's top scorer as the Premier won their first Munster Football Championship crown since 1935. After the county had enjoyed success at both minor and U21 levels in the last decade, the captain was keen to deliver silverware at senior level
Last Updated: 22/11/20 8:38pm
Conor Sweeney was beaming when he emerged from the elevator in Páirc Uí Chaoimh to have a socially-distanced chat with the assembled press in the concourse of the main stand.
Could you blame him? The Ballyporeen man had just kicked 0-7 to steer the Tipperary footballers to one of their most famous victories.
Two frees, two marks, and three spectacular efforts from play saw the Premier captain put the game beyond Cork's reach.
"It's something we've waited a long time for. We came here today with great belief and great confidence. To be honest I don't think we ever looked like losing it really. It's just fantastic to get over the line," he smiled.
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"We had to bring the intensity. They [Cork] had savage intensity against Kerry, and we felt we had to match them with that in that, if we had a chance of winning. And we did that. We won the breaking ball. We got the ball into their forwards, and thankfully we were able to do some damage when we got the chance.
"The Munster draw was favourable for us this year, avoiding Cork and Kerry until the final. Cork took out Kerry. We just felt we had a good chance coming in today. I just felt we had a good belief. It was always there. From the start, we just didn't look like losing the game in my opinion. We wanted it more. We wanted the dirty ball more. And we posed more threat up front. We took our chances which was great.
"There was a bit of pressure. There was pressure internally from the players. We wanted to deliver at senior level. We wanted to put in a performance. And we wanted to prove we could compete here, and we did that today which is great."
From the start, we just didn't look like losing the game in my opinion. We wanted it more.
Sweeney was pleased with Tipp's appetite
Of course, the most eye-catching aspect of the match from throw-in was Tipperary's commemorative jerseys - marking the centenary of Bloody Sunday. But Sweeney and Co could not afford to get drawn into the emotion and significance of the day.
"We were conscious of the jersey," he said. "We were conscious of the occasion and all the history with it. But as players we had to park it, because we had a match to go and win. We didn't want to get caught up or distracted with the whole build-up. It's only now that we can reflect and enjoy it as much as we can. We all know what went on.
"It's a really emotional year for the GAA, especially Tipperary people and Dublin people. It's a privilege to be involved. But first and foremost as players was to prepare for a match and go out and win it. Thankfully we've done that and now we can enjoy the history behind it all."
When the dust settles, focus turns to Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final - the second meeting of the two sides at the penultimate stage of the championship since 2016.
"They are a class team," acknowledged Sweeney.
"I think they are a little bit rejuvenated this year. I think they are playing some great football the last couple of games. Look, we will be the underdogs and that's fine too. If we are going to beat them we will have to play as well as we did today and probably a bit better.
"They are probably to see us coming as well. They are probably happy with the draw and the result. That's for another day. We will just enjoy today."
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