CORK were left bitterly disappointed after defeat to Kilkenny on home turf in the All-Ireland camogie semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday.
Despite going 1-3 to no score ahead early on, the Rebels lost 2-10 to 1-11, the second year in a row they were beaten in the last four, with Kilkenny now facing Galway next month.
Manager Paudie Murray paid tribute to Kilkenny for their contribution to a cracking game, but expressed his frustration at the officiating.
“We got a great start but I think we probably went away from what we were doing well in the first quarter.
“A lot of things went on out there that I certainly wasn’t very happy with. I thought the referee was very, very inconsistent. We were blown several times for over-carrying and you would like that to be applied on the other side as well.
"I don’t want to get started on it again and again and be on about referees but I seriously question his display. You look for consistency and you don’t get it.
"Several things went on there and were pointed out to the linesman and fourth official but nothing was done about it. I’m long enough at it to know the rules and at this stage, I’m just sick of it. It's totally frustrating this year and other years.”
Viewers on RTE were left confused at the final whistle, as the TV clock showed just two minutes of the four of injury time allotted in the second half were played.
“The time at the end was crazy; certainly no one should get that wrong.”
The concession of a second-half goal was a killer blow.
“The goal was a sucker punch alright, but still we certainly still had plenty of chances after it but we didn’t take them. We had a few wides from frees and play and we didn’t hold the ball inside either.
"At this level, small margins and one or two scores tip the balance.”
Losing Pamela Mackey to injury he acknowledged was a loss too.
“Pam is an outstanding player and certainly any team would miss a player of her calibre.”
The Cork boss was happy with his decisions to start Gemma O'Connor, returning from a punctured lung but nowhere near full fitness.
“Happy enough with Gemma she certainly didn’t lose the game for us.”
Murray defended his side's tactics.
“I’m sick and tired of hearing this. There were a lot of people during the week shouting about it. When we play our short running game we carve them open and we did it in the opening quarter. My biggest problem was we went away from it, maybe then players are listening to the press too much.”
And so another year over ends without an All-Ireland title. It remains to be seen what 2021 will bring, with Gemma O'Connor possibly following Aoife Murray into retirement.
Younger players such Linda Collins, Amy Lee and Laura Hayes will have learned from the experience this season and Paudie Murray will remain on board if he has the appetite to continue, having served as manager since 2012.