Offaly manager Leo O’Connor reflects on his side’s defeat to Cork and the cynical nature of tackling by Ben O’Connor’s side.
Leo O’Connor says a sour taste has been left in his mouth after Cork’s “cynical hurling” display in the All-Ireland Under-20 final.
The Rebels won by 2-22 to 3-13 after a brilliant display, with Diamruid Healy and Micheal Mullins scoring the winners’ goals.
Offaly manager O’Connor was unhappy with some of the tackling by Cork, including some hits in the first half and Eoin Downey rugby tackling Dan Bourke on the ’21 midway through the second half.
“One or two things happened in the first half, absolutely cynical hurling and that leaves a bit of a sour taste,” says the Limerick native.
“Cork physically dominated us in the second-half, that 10 minutes after half-time when they really pushed on.
“Fair play to them, they were a better team than us today.
“They showed it on the scoreboard, and that is the way it is.
“But that cynicism. An Offaly player went through 15 minutes to go, pulled straight to the ground. Penalty in the first-half.
“There are things that happen and it is not our responsibility on the sideline. And all we can do is ask questions.
“As they wear on the sleeve ‘give respect, get respect’. It is just very frustrating.
“We had three players rounded Cork defenders, they had no one between them and goal and three times they were pulled down. One of them was a penalty.
“The Offaly support has been absolutely phenomenal,” O’Connor adds. “You see the hunger that is there for this.
“And certainly we won’t go away. We will come back. There are ten of the starting team today underage next year.
“Three or four more came on that will be there next year. In total, 27 are underage next year. It is positive but you just don’t do these things.
“There is no doubt about today we were beaten by the better team.”
When pressed further about some of the tackling by Cork, O’Connor did not back down.
“We went to the fourth official, we spoke to the linesman. We were constantly speaking to them.
“Apparently there is no black card at Under-20 level, it is only at senior level,” he said, returning to the Downey tackle on Bourke.
“Refereeing was in my house all my life. I am not giving out about the referee (Chris Mooney).
“But I am saying you’ve got to question the cynical nature of what went on in the first half today.”