Photo: Irish Examiner (Inpho)
Stephen Coen was at Croke Park the other day for a promotional event ahead of Saturday’s All-Ireland U21 final and today’s nationals have pieces on what he had to say at this get-together. There are features with the U21 captain in the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, The 42 and on the GAA’s own website.
Inevitably, the issue of the performance of other county teams in All-Ireland finals came up and the Hollymount/Carramore player handled this well. He said:
We’re not focusing on any other team. We’re trying to write our own history. We’re not really concerned about what’s happened before at any age level, because every year is different, every game is different.
Interestingly, he specifically included the All-Ireland winning minor team of 2013 – which he himself of course also captained – when talking about how other teams had got on in past finals and why what happened to them would not be relevant for this particular group of players. It’s a sensible tack for him to take, I reckon, because just like all those unhappy final experiences can do nothing for Mike Solan’s charges as they head to Ennis, there’s little from that positive experience at minor level two years ago – great and all as it was – that could be put to use now in plotting a way past Cork in Saturday’s U21 decider.
That said, Edwin McGreal in the Mayo News (paper and digital versions) made the interesting observation earlier this week that the county never really got to celebrate properly that 2013 minor title, given that it was so quickly and comprehensively overshadowed by the loss we suffered immediately afterwards in that day’s senior final. While accepting fully the point Stephen makes about this particular U21 team, it would surely be greatly fitting for him and the other lads who helped to deliver the minor title in 2013 to go on and win the U21 All-Ireland on a day where they and their achievement would be the sole focus of attention. What a nice bit of history that would be to write.
By the way, as was mentioned in the comments earlier on, Cork last night named their team and subs for Saturday, full details here. It’s an unchanged side from the one that started against Monaghan in the semi-final. I’ve no idea when, or indeed if, we’re going to make our team announcement but sure won’t we all be in Ennis soon enough in any event?