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Saturday 21 October 2017

Pa: Strikes took huge toll on Cork stickmen

PA Cronin reckons Cork are only now returning to the levels they had been prior to the strikes which blighted blotches of the last decade.

It's eight years since the Rebels won a Munster SHC title, the longest spell of such failure since the county endured a decade (1956 to '66) without a provincial crown.

Horgan was involved in two of the strikes that tore the county in half and, in his eyes, wreaked 
long-term damage on their prospects of success, from which they are only now recovering.

"That definitely set us back a good bit," he admitted ahead of Sunday's Munster final with Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

"But it's a thing that we're really motivated by this year, to get a trophy back.

"Sunday is a massive opportunity for us, especially in Cork and hopefully we can deliver."

Cronin joined the senior panel in 2007 and by the winter of 2007, was embroiled in the second Cork players strike over a disagreement with the county board regarding the process by which team selectors were chosen and the appointment of Teddy Holland as senior football manager.

WITHDREW

Two years later, the squad withdrew their services over the continuation of Gerald McCarthy's position as manager.

"It definitely was exhausting, the first few months," he admits.

"We were missing league campaigns and that wasn't going to benefit anybody.

"But it was an exhausting time to be involved in it because there were all-nighters, meetings, down in the Rochestown Park Hotel until all hours in the morning.

"It just drained everyone, everyone on both sides and Cork hurling lost out in the meantime."

Their temporary demise allowed several other Munster teams to go on and contest All-Ireland finals, with Limerick (2007) and Waterford ('08) both capitalising on Cork's dissarray to go all the way to September.

"I think even if you look at it around the time of before the strikes, Cork and Kilkenny has a massive rivalry and Cork were every bit as good as Kilkenny," Cronin noted.

"Then you could just see that Kilkenny just pulled away and won All-Ireland after All-Ireland. All I'm saying is that before that, 2003, 2004, 2005, Cork and Kilkenny were 50-50, they were very evenly matched teams.

"I think that if the strikes hadn't happened, if the management had had another year's term or two after 2006, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened."

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