Fit-again Cork footballer Brian Hurley blocking out the noise
CORK football Brian Hurley says he’s found it easy to block out all the negativity swirling around the camp after coming through a “torturous” eight months of rehab.
Fierce criticism has rained down on the Rebels following their surprise Division Two defeat to Clare last weekend that leaves them just above the relegation zone after four games.
Hurley, who is nearing full fitness after suffering a horrific hamstring injury last July that left him in a brace and on crutches, insists his sole focus is getting back on the field again.
“My number one priority is to get back into the panel and get on the first team,” said the 24-year-old full-forward.
“We do have a lot of injuries but it’s no excuse for the standards of Cork football. The result against Clare was unacceptable.
“If we want to be there or thereabouts we need to be winning those games.
“We have to accept we weren’t good enough on the day and go back to the drawing board and be positive for the next day against Meath.”
Speaking at the GAA’s link-up with RNLI Lifeboats in Croke Park yesterday, the Castlehaven clubman added: “I don’t buy newspapers, I don’t listen to the radio to be honest. I’m coming back from a long enough time being out.
“If you do listen to it you’ll pull yourself into the gutter. I’m just trying to be as positive as possible and try and enjoy my football because the last eight months haven’t been great, and careers are short.
“I don’t listen to people outside of our group. They don’t know how hard we train, they don’t know how hard we work, but everybody is entitled to their opinion.”
Former Cork boss Conor Counihan was criticised for winning just one All-Ireland title  during his time in charge, while Brian Cuthbert stepped down from the hot-seat in 2015 with little to show for his efforts.
Peadar Healy is the managerial incumbent but hasn’t been able to arrest Cork’s downward trajectory.
They’ve beaten Fermanagh, drawn with Galway and lost Allianz League games to Kildare and Clare.
“You do get a lot of criticism but it comes with it. Cork are a big football county and I think if you don’t meet certain standards people will let you know.
“But you’re in the role, you’re an inter-county footballer, you’re going to accept some of it.
“[But] you can’t take everyone’s advice on board… I can’t control anyone else or what people think of me or what people thing of us as a team. It’s just very important to get your own head right.”
Hurley could be in contention to see some game-time against Meath on March 19 and will play a full game for his club this weekend.
The Cork attacker suffered a freak hamstring injury during a training session last summer. It transpired four inches of his hamstring muscle ripped off the bone that resulted in surgery and eight months on the sidelines.
“Getting in and out of bed and putting on your socks – small things like that, it just opens your eyes to how lucky you are to play football and be active,” he said.
“There are other people out there who aren’t so lucky. You have to appreciate what you have."